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Doctor Faustus Analysis

1779 words - 7 pages

I. The play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlow was first published in Manchester by Manchester Publishing in 1588, no information about the play’s first production date was found.

II. Doctor Faustus is contrived of the following: Faustus, a man well learned in medicine and other knowledge’s known to man is dissatisfied with where his life is heading so he calls upon the Lucifer and His accomplice, Mephistophilis, to teach him the ways of magic. They agree to be his tutors only if Faustus will sell his soul to Lucifer and be His after 20 years. Faustus agrees and goes through trying times where he is unsure of his decision and considers repenting but then is persuaded again and again that the magic powers of the Devil are far more satisfying than the powers of Heaven.

III. Faustus is portrayed as a very individual character. He changes and is shaped by the events that happen all around him. Everything he does affects his future outcome. For example his decision to give up his studies of medicine were very un-stereotypical of a character that is studying to be a doctor to do. Even more so is his decision to take upon the necromantics of the devil. He says, “Then read no more; thou hast attain'd that end: A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit.” (1.11) He believes that he has learned enough information about all the great things of the world and there is nothing left to study that will intrigue him as much as magic will. His curious personality affects the play because his decisions determine the plot. For example the Seven Deadly Sins entice him so he becomes convinced not to repent his sin. This characterizes him as gullible, curious and adventurous. He becomes obsessed with his magic and he absolutely loves having the powers to do anything he pleases. An example of this is when he conjures up Helen. He knows he can do whatever he wants without reservation so he chooses to conjure the woman who launched a thousand ships. This shows that not only is he gullible, curious and obsessed but also Faustus only wishes for the best in whatever he does; the best that will please him.

Mephistophilis is the opposite of Faustus. Mephistophilis is the stereotype of the typical conniving Devil’s assistant. He is always pressuring Faustus to listen to his “bad angel” and act upon his desires instead of his intellect. Mephistophilis’ personality influences the entire plot also, but in a different way than Faustus’. His personality influences everything Faustus does. He will do anything to keep Faustus in believing that sinning is good and in turn it affects Faustus’ decisions and choices. Mephistophilis is very aware about what is going on around him; he does not miss a detail. That is why he knows how to manipulate people, especially Faustus, into giving him what he wants.

IV. The language of this play is in literary prose. Since it was written well before 1830 colloquial prose is automatically ruled out. The dialogue in this play is more the thoughts of...

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