Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Marlowe’s character is depicted supposedly as the new Renaissance man, strong with Individualism, a quest for greater knowledge and a urge to grow to his full potential. Throughout the passage Faustus makes wordy and lofty speeches, suggesting his confidence in his power. Faustus appears to be not only a learned man, but one who is familiar with good and evil.

Mephistopheles, in his opening speech uses a similar style as Faustus but is more direct, forceful and straight forward setting out the realities of the situation and potential downfall of Faustus’s plans for his future.

On the darker side Marlowe depicts Faustus as being self absorbed, convinced of his only superior knowledge and abilities.

Faustus does not wish to glorify God, as his medieval predecessors did, and wants to show that he is not frightened by the idea of being held to account by God himself for his actions and his arrogance is revealed. This can be seen in the line “This word “damnation” terrifies not him”

When questioning Mephistopheles Faustus want to know why Lucifer was cast from heaven Mephistopheles replies “O, by aspiring pride and insolence,   For which God threw him from the face of heaven” he tries to show him how it mirrors what is to come of Faustus if he follows this path.

Even this does not stop Faustus longing for the knowledge and magic that Mephistopheles and Lucifer can give to him. Faustus believes that he is above this, that he knows best, that it will not happen to him, it ought to act as a warning for Faustus, who is also guilty of ‘aspiring pride and insolence”

To this end even when questioning Mephistopheles about Hell, Mephistopheles tries to warn him of what lies ahead in the sense of ‘beware of what you wish for’ Faustus ignores this. Does he not realise or does he not care? Is it Godly knowledge and power at any prices? No matter what the cost?

Mephistopheles at times is portrayed as very human, with his...