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Dr. Faustus – Christopher Marlowe: The Temptation And The Punishment Essay, Research Paper
Dr. Faustus – Christopher Marlowe
The Temptation And The Punishment
From an early age we are told that knowledge is power and that it is our key to success and gainful experiences within this strange world. Many people also become obsessed with hobbies or goals within this modern time. It seems that there was no difference in Christopher Marlowe?s time. This magnificent playwright was able to capture these two elements beautifully and the consequences that may arise from them if they are combined in the play Doctor Faustus. He also sprinkles a dash of superstition and adds a pinch of religion to complete his recipe for conveying the message of how destructive an obsession can become. It is amazing to see that people knew how dangerous obsession could be to a person. Granted, it was wrong for different reasons then than it is now but the Renaissance people knew that it was detrimental. In this modern era we know that obsessions are harmful because it interferes with a person?s ability to function in society and live their life but the Renaissance people believed that obsessions interfered with the hierarchy of god and spirituality. Ultimately, this led to sin and condemnation of their souls. The afterlife was something that was very important and a serious matter which, was looked upon with a great reverence. We know that many of these compulsions and obsessions are driven by psychological reasons where the Renaissance community believed in angels, demons and spirits that did the work of god and the devil alike.
This play shows that Doctor Faustus is interested in gaining all of the knowledge that is possible within this world and in the next or domain of the lord. He is relentless in his pursuit if knowledge and stops at nothing to gain everything that he wants. This situation shows how our original sin may effect us through our entire lives even though we are supposed to be wiped free of it when we are baptized in the eyes of god and the church. Eve took and ate from the sacred tree in the Garden of Eden to gain god?s knowledge just as Faustus is willing to sell his soul for all of the knowledge that he can possibly attain. In both cases we are given the message that it is wrong to want all of the knowledge that is possible to attain ? especially all of the knowledge that god posses. With Eve we know that it is wrong because god has cast mankind out of paradise for her sin. The sin of trying to defy nature and be on the same level as god. With the doctor we know that it is wrong because we are introduced to the good and bad angels who are trying to convince him to do what they want which eventually leads to him selling his soul for what he wants ? ultimate and complete knowledge. The good angel wants him to let go of the knowledge and have strength and faith in the grace of god while the bad angel wants Faustus to indulge himself and become closer to gaining more knowledge so that damnation will be his ultimate fate.
Doctor Faustus is the type of man who has totally committed his entire life and being to the pursuit of knowledge. The opportunity for Faustus to gain the knowledge of god is something that will allow him to bring gain to his allies and attain power that has never before been achieved by a single man. This is what he has always desired and wanted above all else no matter what the cost may be. This knowledge will allow him the power to bend the world in the way that he wants for his pleasure and convince while molding the world around him into a shape that he feels would be best for Europe.
Many people have sought power and control over many time periods throughout the history of mankind. Dr. Faustus is no exception but his tale is described with a lack of moral backing or ethical concentration wile emphasizing the fact that he is willing to the immoral or sinful thing to attain this power that he so desires. We are immediately introduced to Faustus in Marlowe?s play with him studying more information within the university and eventually speaking with the good and bad angels. When the demon appears to him he is very anxious and extremely willing to indenture himself to the devil for the next twenty-four years so that he will be able to gain all that he has been chasing over his whole life. The demon and the devil are more than willing to ablidge him.
When he is finally given the ability of attaining knowledge beyond the realm of man he his sorely disappointed. The devil gives him more knowledge and capability than he has ever possessed before but he is not given the knowledge of god ? the ultimate knowledge that he so desperately wanted. Instead, he is given the power of a magician that allows him to climb to a higher intellectual level than other men but does not allow him to gain the power that he wanted. He is now able to perform tricks, like disappearing and moving objects but he is unable to command nature and armies that will bring about all of the change he wanted to create in Europe.
He complies with the devil?s bidding and fills his servitude to the devil wile allowing him to fall in the favor of many important me, nobles, kings and the pope alike. The doctor shows with this action and disappointment that he is more concerned with the here and now rather than the afterlife. He buys into the idea that there is not a whole lot of pleasure and happiness on god?s side of the fence. This is because the good angel has not given him any material offering to temp his appetite because all of those type of offerings are considered to be sins and at times capital sins. The bad angel and the demon are more convincing with the doctor. They offer him everything that he wanted without actually having to give him what he wanted.
When all is said and done at the end of Faustus? debt to the devil a reemergence of the good and bad angels make an appearance. We are given another beautiful presentation with these three bantering about the same subject once again. The good angel makes his plea for god?s grace and everlasting love with the patients and constancy that he has displayed throughout the entire play. He wants the doctor?s soul to be saved and experience eternal salvation within the boarder?s of heaven while the bad angel is determined to have Faustus share his fate in the bowls of hell for all eternity.
Temptation is a strong argument in changing a person?s mind. The bad angel offers Faustus the opportunity to have sexual relations with the spirit of Helen of Troy. The good angel doesn?t have any sinful experience to offer the doctor and this offer looks less appealing, to say the least. Faustus makes love to Helen?s spirit and commits a capital sin in the eyes of god, which condemns his soul for all eternity.
The devil wins out by capitalizing on the corruption and desire within the heart of the doctor. Because of his mortal flaws he becomes tragic and pathetic in his tragic situation. He brings about his own downfall because he is selfish and conceded. He does not consider the simplicity of god?s love but buys into the complex lies and temptation of evil. This is the area where many modern people would believe that he did the immoral thing but fell pray to his own desires and delusions where the Renaissance people would take this situation a little more literally. In any case he is unable to lay his demons, whether they be mental delusions or literal entities, to rest.
The Renaissance view of this situation is that no sin will go unpunished but god will always allow one to repent for the sins that have been committed. Ultimately if you put your complete trust in the mortal world and the realm of evil you will pay with the price of you soul for that mistake. If one is willing to expand his mind and accept the light of god there will be no price to pay except that which is due to respect god before passing through the gates of heaven. No matter how we want to approach salvation we need to avoid the obsessions of mortality and have faith that ever more will be one of simplicity with all that we need. This will happen no matter how much we think that there is something is this world that our soul will need for all eternity we will be taken care of better than we can imagine.
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