The Tragical History Of Dr. Faustus

1398 words - 6 pages

“No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.” A rather straight forward quote from George Eliot, yet, one in which with its simplicity describes Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus well. It’s not the evil which dooms us but our own lack of desire, and will to stop. That which is evil is our doom us. Written in a time when anything not of the church was considered wrong Marlowe is able to bring out the views and attitudes of the time while ascribing the human condition with its wants, and its sometimes fatal after decisions. Marlowe’s piece “The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus” is written with the human condition in mind with his use of angels and his petrels of the struggles Faustus goes through with regret and repentance
Marlowe portrays the inner struggle we go through in out attempts to rationalize and make decisions with his use of a good and evil angel. We have all seen the cartoons the two angels sitting on opposing shoulders helping one choose the right path, one leaning forwards good and the other towards evil. In the tale of Faustus Marlowe does just this. He set up the inner struggle within Faustus to choose what is at the time considered right and what is frowned upon in his desire to obtain more. He is faced with a choice stay with God or turn and get more than he could desire. It is this use that is most interesting and appropriate for the time in which it was written. In the 16th century, things were divided between good and evil. Anything that was not in line with the teachings of the church such as Faustus’s use of magic was said to be influenced by evil. Thus, by using his opposing angels, he defines the attitudes and beliefs of his day and helps the tale relate to the audience. With this simple per trail it provides insight and is something that any audience then or now can easily identify with.
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We all want what we cannot have and some of us have been known to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal. It’s the human condition, out desire to reach for the stars yet to not think of what is entailed in doing so. It is in this same thread that we meet Faustus. Having learned what was safe and possible by traditional means he reaches for more. He does this even if this very act will damn his soul. In act one Faustus is told by the good angel "Oh Faustus, lay that damned book aside, And gaze not on it lest it tempt thy soul, And heap God's heavy wrath upon thy head."(Greenblatt p1026) While aware from the start that what he is asking for is more highly priced than he might be willing to pay Faustus jumps head long into it giving his soul for the power to do whatever pleases him. It is at this crucial point in the story here the regret of his actions if felt. Faustus himself realizes this when he say’s "If we say that we have no sin, We deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. Why then, belike, we must sin, And consequently die....

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