Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)

The Tragic Example of Doctor Faustus College

Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus depicts a clash between the values of the medieval world and the emerging humanism of the Renaissance. During the Middle Ages in Europe, God is the center of intellectual life, and in art and literature, the emphasis revolves around the lives of the saints and the mighty instead of ordinary people. On the other hand, The Renaissance brings about a new sense of individualism and the pursuit of more secular knowledge. This clash between the old medieval piousness and the humanist Renaissance is the core of Faustus’ character.

Faustus is a contradictory character, greatly ambitious and articulate, but strangely obtuse and willing to waste his costly powers. When Marlowe introduces Faustus, he is readying to recreate himself as a magician. From the very beginning of the play when the Chorus compares Faustus to Daedalus and his waxen wings, it is evident that Faustus’ plight will end badly. Regardless of Marlowe’s foreshadowing, Faustus’ contemplations on the possibilities of his magical powers carry a sense of grandeur that goes far beyond the piousness of his medieval predecessors. His visions of reshaping Europe politically and geographically and acquiring...

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