Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)

examine dr.faustus as a tragedy of man's will to self determination

Whole book of dr.faustus

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The possible range of human accomplishment is at the heart of Doctor Faustus, and many of the other themes are auxiliary to this one. The axis of this theme is the conflict between Greek or Renaissance worldviews, and the Christian worldview that has held sway throughout the medieval period. As Europe emerged from the Middle Ages, contact with previously lost Greek learning had a revelatory effect on man's conception of himself. While the Christian worldview places man below God, and requires obedience to him, the Greek worldview places man at the center of the universe. For the Greeks, man defies the gods at his own peril, but man has nobility that no deity can match.

Doctor Faustus, scholar and lover of beauty, chafes at the bit of human limitation. He seeks to achieve godhood himself, and so he leaves behind the Christian conceptions of human limitation. Though he fancies himself to be a seeker of Greek greatness, we see quickly that he is not up to the task.