Dr. FAUSTUS by Christopher Marlowe

Meandering into the Unknown: Thrills and Pains of Dr. Faustus

Exploring the unexplored was the spirit of the Renaissance.  Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is a typical Renaissance play where the central character Dr. Faustus explores necromancy, a field of knowledge which the people of that time dared not to venture.  Exploring the unexplored enthralls but it is not without the involvement of the known or unknown risks.  Dr. Faustus making a daring venture into the unexplored makes Dr. Faustus a typical play.

During the Renaissance, people believed in breaking barriers and transcending the limitations of the mankind.  This Renaissance spirit is evident in Dr. Faustus when he rejects the advice of the good angels to pursue his adventure into an exciting territory of necromancy.  He turns deaf ears to the advice of the good angels as barriers to his progress, and takes the advice of the evil angel which lures him by promising a god-like living if he practices necromancy.  The evil angel says,

                                                Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky,

                                                Lord and commander of these elements. (Act I, Sc i)

These bewitching words prevail ultimately as he wants to explore new avenues that would promise ultimate power over the spirits and mankind. 

The exploration to untrodden avenues gives the opportunities to exercise power over people, even beyond borders.  During the Renaissance, people travelled to unknown places knowing it involves risks because it also gave them the possibility of making others subdue for their own well-being.  Dr. Faustus travels to different places and derives pleasure in executing his power over both ordinary and high profile people.  He shows his authority over a horse courser and also the Pope alike.

Renaissance is a quest for knowledge to learn and to expand their horizon.  When the play begins, it could be seen that Dr. Faustus expresses his desire to learn a new field of knowledge.  But the acquisition of knowledge was not used for noble purposes alone but also to cater to his mean desires.  After seeing the seven deadly sins Dr. Faustus remarks, “O, how, this sight doth delight my soul.”  Dr. Faustus’ soul delights in seeing deadly sins which is not a noble desire.  And towards the end of the play, his soul is delighted in seeing Helen of Troy that shows how his thirst for knowledge has stooped down to carnal desires, as he says, “make me immortal with a kiss”.  These delights reveal Dr. Faustus’ craving for knowledge was not for a noble purpose but for a base motive.

Renaissance literature depicts the traits of that period.  Dr. Faustus being written during the Renaissance period brings out the traits of that period through the central character, Dr. Faustus.  There was an awakening to the realization of the human ability to explore new places and new fields of knowledge to have dominion over people and to enable them to enjoy dominion over people and to enable themselves to enjoy unlimited powers over all things on the surface of this earth.

About diarysketches (25 Articles)
I Teach English Language and Literature in a college.

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