Essay Sample: Dr. Faustus and Relevance to the Modern Reader

Published: 2023-03-15
Essay Sample: Dr. Faustus and Relevance to the Modern Reader
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  God Christianity Character analysis Dramatic literature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1125 words
10 min read

Dr. Faustus, a Christian play, is about Faustus, an educated man who prizes power and individualism. He emphasized human beings over the supernatural and God, which made his primary importance to be his big idea in humanism. His only problem is that he does not think much of his soul, and after he died, he was doomed to go to hell because of his pact with the devil to gain the powers of deity. The importance of any work of literature differs from one person to another. Many people find the work of Dr. Faustus not remotely relevant.

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Nevertheless, he a famous writer and is widely copied by other writers his style of writing "the mighty line." The mighty line or blank verse was accepted after Marlowe as a verse form of drama. He was the first to free the drama from stiff traditions, which proved that blank verse was an effective and expressive way of expressing Elizabeth drama.

Dr. Faustus is a well respected German scholar who grows tired of the limits of traditional forms of knowledge that is logic, law, religion, and medicine. He, therefore, decides that he wants to learn magic and begins his new career as a magician despite being warned about the horrors of hell(Marlowe and Kastan). Faustus makes an offer to Lucifer that he works for him for twenty-four years in exchange for his soul. They then made a pact, and Faustus is allowed to ask questions about the world. The devil answers all of them except the question of who created the universe. After being shown the seven deadliest sins, he is satisfied and begins to travel all over the world playing tricks. When the twenty-four years of his deal with the devil are almost over, he is overcome by remorse and fear as he begs for mercy, but it was too late since, at midnight, a host of devils carry his soul off to hell.

Dr. Faustus offers the contemporary reader knowledge of morality, sin, religion, tragedies, magic illusion, and the supernatural. The play deals with the themes at the core of Christianity understanding of the world. First, there is the idea of sin and redemption that dr Faustus tries to represent. Christianity defines it as acts that are conflicting to the will of God. In making a pact with Lucifer of giving his soul to him, he consciously sins. He not only sins but renounces his disobedience towards God by committing the terrible sin. However terrible the deal was, he still had an option of redeeming himself, but he failed to. All he needed to do was to ask forgiveness from God. The play gives instances of when he was urged to change in decision, for example, by the good angels on his shoulder and the older man who can be seen to be emissaries of God. Each of those times that Faustus chose to remain loyal to hell, he defies God, and that is seen as a sin in Christianity. In the final scene, he cries out to Christ to redeem him, but it was too late for redemption.

Through the play, the readers are offered knowledge of the conflict that arises between medieval and renaissance values. Dr. Faustus, a renaissance man, had to pay the medieval price for being one. The medieval world placed more emphasis on God and ignored the natural world and man, while the renaissance world placed human beings at the center of its existence. It sought to gain answers on the nature of the world through science. Faustus being a magician, explicitly denies the medieval model. He goes through medicine, religion, law, medicine, and theology to quest his search for answers about the world. The medieval model required that one believed in tradition and authority and not individual inquiry.

Dr. Faustus also offers power as a corrupting influence on the reader. In the play, before he agrees to make a pact with the devil, Faustus is filled with ideas for how to use the power that he pursues. He is filled with thoughts of piling up wealth and of how he can remake the map of Europe. This makes his quest for powers seem almost heroic if not ambitious. The main reason why Faustus makes a deal with the devil is so that he can acquire abilities as those were his terms. This makes his urge for power to become an influence for him to make such a wrong decision. After gains the powers, his ambitions narrow. Instead of the grand designs that he had planned on earlier on, he instead becomes content with traveling around tricks for kings and noblemen(Marlowe and Kastan). One would expect that after gaining power, Faustus' behavior would rise to the level of his wickedness, but it does not. The power corrupts Faustus by turning him into a mediocre by turning his limitless ambition into a worthless enchantment of insignificant celebrity. In Christianity, one can only achieve greatness by being close to God, and by cutting himself off, he only achieved mediocrity as he has gained the whole world but fails to know what to do with it.

The play also enlightens the reader on the divided nature of man as Faustus is seen to be in a dilemma on whether to repent and be close to God once again or remain in his pact with the devil. The good and evil angels who appear to which symbolize the struggle that he has on choosing the side to be on and his divided will(Marlowe and Kastan). Since the dominant part of him says that he should commit to Mephastophillis, he is compelled by it but also questions his commitment repeatedly.

The play speaks to me as a reader by showing the consequences that come after one's decision. Faustus decided to give his soul to the devil so that he can have all the power he dreamed of, but he later regrets it. Faustus made a poor decision and did not think critically before making it as his quest for power blinded him, and he later regrets it as we see him begging for mercy from Christ to be redeemed. He had so many chances of repenting during the twenty-four years, but he failed to, which caused him to suffer the consequences of his actions by going to hell. The play is significant as it can demonstrate the struggle between evil and good and teaches ethics in Christianity. It helps enlightens readers that making a good decision is always right, and if one makes a wrong decision, one can always rectify it before it is too late.

Works Cited

Marlowe, Christopher, and David Scott Kastan. Doctor Faustus. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. Print.

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