Faustus: Fate Sealed By Choice
A newly developing concept during Marlow's time was predestination and Marlow toys with this concept provoking questions in the religiously dogmatic society of the time. In the early 17th century play, Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlow develops within the main protagonist Faustus a constant indecisiveness on the concept of predestination in order to leave his fate and the reason for it seemingly undetermined. However, it is the incapability of Faustus to choose to believe in the ever existent opportunity to repent and prevent damnation that seals his fate.
The misinterpretation of predestination can easily lead one down an even worse path as by its very definition the choices one makes have already been decided. Faustus thinks that because he has already "incurred eternal death" that he no longer has a choice to do any good or turn his life around so he delves deeper into sin when he "surrenders up to [Lucifer] his soul" (1.3 88, 90). At this point Faustus is beginning to lose himself in the thinking that he has been predestined to go down this path and he cannot do anything. He begins making the choices that seals his fate. Although signing his soul off to the devil is not the final word on whether he shall be damned it definitely helps to drive into his mind that he does not have a choice. The constant influences and subtle manipulation from Lucifer and Mephistopheles surely do not help Faustus in overcoming the mental block that keeps him pushing down a path further from salvation. Faustus always has control over what happens but ignorance also helps Faustus become blind to the option of redemption and repentance that various people such as the scholars who try to point him in the right path along the way. Faustus wanders down a worse path but at any point he could have made a change for better, even when Marlow makes one think maybe he has no choice.
By the belief that one's fate has already been sealed there's no motivation to put forth an effort to try and change what cannot be changed. The Good Angel convinces Faustus for a brief moment that "if I repent" then "God will pity me" putting a stall to his steady decline (1.5 192). However with a reminder that he "never shall repent" Faustus remembers that because of his predestination it does not matter whether he wants to he "cannot repent" and his "heart's so hardened" (1.5 193-194). Faustus catches a glimpse of his life without predestination; he finally sees that maybe after all this God could forgive him if he repented. He quickly resubmits into the hopelessness of his life being predestined to damnation though. Faustus could make the choice here to change and he's being told by an angel of God that he still has a chance but he simply is incapable of leaving his way of thinking. The smallest of arguments pulls him back in. Marlow includes this as a way of possibly introducing the idea that maybe Faustus is predestined as even with the word of an...