Read the following passage from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Discuss Marlowe’s use of language in the passage and how it contributes to the characterisation of Faustus.
The story of Doctor Faustus is a complicated one where Faustus is caught in a battle between sinning and repentance, and it is in the passage that Faustus fears he is unable to repent. The language plays a significant part in the characterisation of Faustus himself.
The presence of the Good and Evil angels at the beginning of the play according to Pacheo is a common characteristic of many morality plays. The Good and Evil angels’ entrance every time Faustus waivers in his decision suggest that the angels are vying for Faustus’s soul. Another explanation could be that the angels are actually a personification of Faustus conscience which he is battling with.
Faustus hints that he is already a spirit when he says ‘be I a devil.’ (Dr Faustus, the A text p 49) However at the beginning of his speech he tells o how his heart is ‘hardened.’ (ibid. P49) This could be argued that he is still a man and not a spirit at all. This is followed by ‘I cannot repent.’ (ibid. P49) This is significant, as it suggests links to the theory of Calvinism that only a few chosen people were granted salvation as a gift from God rather than earning it. (Pacheo, Reputations Chapter 2 p45)The impression given here is that Faustus feels a sense of powerlessness ad is unable to believe that God loves him.
Faustus hears the ‘fearful echoes’ (ibid. P49) of his conversation with Mephistopheles where he was sceptical about ‘eternal torment.’ (ibid. P40) The end-stopped line causes a longer pause which could be because he is pausing to remember. This followed by the exclamation ‘Faustus, thou art damned!’ (ibid. P49) shows that he now fears that Mephistopheles may have been correct. It also reiterates the idea of Calvinism that Faustus doesn’t believe that he can be forgiven by God.
The alliteration of ‘deep despair’ (ibid....