Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)

The Problem of Evil In Doctor Faustus

The traditional Christian message Christopher Marlowe was working with during the time he wrote Doctor Faustus stated that one should avoid leading a life of temptation and sin, the origins of which were rooted in an enterprising proprietor of evil generally referred to as the Devil. But if one does succumb to these debasements, atonement is always possible so long as the person is alive.

Faustus serves as a representative of the common man, or at least a type of common man: he is a knowledgeable seeker of knowledge; the knowledge at his disposal is not enough to satisfy him. Faustus is described as a character with 'cunning of a self-conceit' whose 'waxen wings did mount above his reach' [Prologue, Line 19]. Indeed, passionate Icarus is an ideal foil for the tragic Faustus. Icarus embodies the idea of inventiveness gone wrong, of humans who push the limits of human knowledge and attempt a compatibility with the godly that cannot be reached. Though warned by his father Daedalus not to fly too close to the sun because it would melt his wings, and not to fly too close to the sea because it would dampen them and make it difficult to fly, Icarus's exhilaration with the feat of flying provoked him to cross...

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