ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY CHARACTERIZING FAUSTUS
Argumentative Essay Characterizing Faustus
Dr. Faustus is an Elizabethan play by Christopher Marlowe based on the character of a highly educated and rich man Faustus who has achieved all the worldly respect cum knowledge and now he wants to have supernatural powers. He pursues his objective by practicing the Black Magic, but eventually he is shackled by the damnation. The critics have different views about this play. Some critics call it a great Renaissance play that hammers the authority of clergy and monarchs, but the others call it a didactic play that attempts to portray the consequences if a person follows a wrong path in the persuasion of his/her objectives. I agree with the latter group of the critics because Faustus although undermines rather mocks at the Pope’s authority, but his pathetic destiny discourages the audience to follow his path.
Dr. Faustus is a morality play as we analyze its theme. Initially, Dr. Faustus seems as an enlightened character representative of Renaissance who rebels against the authority of the Pope and stresses upon learning every kind of knowledge even the Black Magic. He wishes to bring more prosperity to England by getting gold from Germany and pearls from India. This factor portrays him as a nationalist. Nationalism had recently started in Europe after the disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire Bevington, 1604-1616). Dr. Faustus appears as a patriot English in protestant England when he mocks at the German monarch and the Pope: a catholic. Faustus has a great respect among his fellow scholars that could be because of his high scholastic status. All such qualities make him a hero who has rebelled against status-quo, but the end of the play alters the audience mind. He has not achieved satisfaction even after 24 years of absolute power (Kastan, 132-142). He is still in dilemmas in uncontended. He looks confident and passionate in the start, but eventually he has turned pessimistic, helpless, and highly confused when the play ends. He wants to repent but he cannot do so because Mephistopheles distracts him. This desire of repentance is the most solid logic that Faustus has been portrayed as an example of damning folly not as a romantic hero.
Marlowe’s protagonist Faustus mocks at the catholic Pope not the Christianity. Thus, it cannot be assumed that he has rebelled against the religion. Moreover, we learn that although Faustus expresses his desire to prosper England and to help poor by assuming absolute power, but when he is assigned that power, he becomes a corrupt absconder who violates the human rights of others and breaches their privacy. He enjoys with women and spoils everyone wherever he goes. Had he offered his soul peacefully to Mephistopheles, we would have assumed him as a romantic hero. But, his cries at the end of the play suggest that he is an example of damning folly not a romantic hero.
Bevington, David, and Eric Rasmussen. Dr Faustus: The A-and B-texts (1604, 1616): A parallel-text edition. Manchester University Press, 2016.
Kastan, David Scott, and Peter Stallybrass. "Subversion through Transgression DOCTOR FAUSTUS (c. 1592)." Staging the Renaissance. Routledge, 2017. 132-142.
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