Dr Faustus

Part 2 Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus
Read the following passage from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.   Discuss Marlowe’s use of language in this passage and how it contributes to the characterisation of Faustus.

Christopher Marlowe uses language and poetic techniques in this soliloquy to reflect Faustus’s psychological anguish at his decision to sell his soul to the devil.

From the outset Faustus shows his inner turmoil by referring to himself in the third person “Ah, Faustus”, psychologically separating his physical body from his soul, exposing his regret and fear in God at what he has done.   Faustus goes on to argue with himself, thus creating a battle between good and evil “I’ll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down?”

We know that the clock has just struck prior to the opening of this extract and Marlow uses Iambic Pentameter to mimic the rhythm of the clock ticking
“Now has thou but one bare hour to live,
And then thou must be damned perpetually”
However, he breaks this pattern of monosyllabic words when he uses “perpetually” to end the sentence, reflecting Faustus’ desire to stop the movement of time and demonstrate his fear of eternal hell.

Marlowe then goes on to use lines of enjambment to create a sense of Faustus’ anxiety (5,2,71 to 73).   Faustus is desperate to stop time and is terrified of what’s to come and this use of structure signifies this, in the way one line falls into the next, speeding up the way in which it is read.   He also uses repetition in this passage, and throughout the play, to reinforce what he wants, “rise, rise again” he doesn’t want the day to end and wants time to slow down as he is desperate to avoid his fate.

Marlowe creates a very dramatic and urgent tone through rhythm, pace and punctuation (5, 2, 74 to 76).   The short broken sentences reflect his panic and fear, he is desperate for Gods forgiveness and begs for Lucifer to spare him.   The use of blood is a metaphor for life, it shows Faustus’ hope that God will...