Dr. Faustus as a tragedy or a tragic play.

Dr. Faustus is a popular play, published in 1604, by one of the biggest playwright Christopher Marlowe of Elizabethan Age after Shakespeare.

Dr. Faustus considered as a tragedy because of the ending and his ultimate journey throughout the play and its narrative style, however, doctor Faustus is also a morality play in which it contains clear lesson about making morally good choices and the negative consequences of staying from God.

Dr. Faustus is a tragedy play because the main character falls as a victim of his own circumstances, and is a victim of himself. He is a man with all the potential and possibilities to be successful. He is Renaissance man who is versed in very aspect of science, philosophy, the arts, education and genius, yet he utilizes his energy and wit into absolutely nonsense and unnecessary goals such as his obsession to be a magician who is more knowledgeable and his ridiculous fixation for power. A power he has no clue what to do with, to make matters worse his self- absorbency led him to make a pact with the devils to obtain that same power he wanted for no factual reason.

Dr. Faustus demonstrates the Renaissance philosophy that pits the dichotomy of good, angelic humanity against evil and depraved humanity. Marlowe’s play also is a model of the Elizabethan tragedy, Marlowe constructed the character of Dr. Faustus to represent within himself, both characteristics of the renaissance view of humanity as divinely good and hellishly evil. First Dr. Faustus is presented as a scholar of all things including divinity, the highest Renaissance scholarly discipline, then Faustus is shown as dissatisfied with the limitations of humanity and grasping for unlimited knowledge, which is biblical allusion to Adam and Eve who ate the tree of knowledge.

Dr. Faustus is a man who of his own conscious will- fulness brings tragedy and torment crashing down upon his head, the pitiful and fearful victim of his run ambitions and desires. He is tempted by the evil with so much affinity that the voice of his conscious is not able to stop him from deeds. His knowledge and education become means of before such huge temptation when devil is also unable to satisfy his urges then he feels trapped and prays to god to rescues him.

He repents and cursed wicked Mephastophilis even Christ cannot save Faustus, as Lucifer says, as his justness preclude those like Faustus who are assertive of their worth. Faustus dies questioning the very validation of human existence.

The tragical history of Dr. Faustus by Marlowe; a great man of knowledge, he was the epitome of the “Renaissance man”, who had archived great knowledge and has come to what Marlowe considered “self- actualization”. Marlowe in his studies of ambitions where he shows a man who dealt with the Renaissance “overreacher” revealing his heroism and strength of will while simultaneously chronicling the loss humanity occasioned by his unchecked abuse of power.

The tragedy in Dr. Faustus, when he deceived himself by believing that there is no hell, the second deception when he believes in the Elysian field, (the place of abode for the virus mortals or those given immortality by divine favor). He thought that he would spend eternity debating and learning form great philosophies of ancient times. He even asks mephastophilis, what is hell? The answer should have caused Faustus to shiver and turn to god he had renounced.

Lucifer had agreed to allow mephastophilis to attend Faustus for 24 years, so that he could destroy his soul, Faustus has to sign a contract in his own blood. Mephastophilis tells Faustus that when he signs the contract he will be as great as Lucifer. Because of Faustus’s Deception he did not see that if he were “as great as Lucifer”, then Lucifer would not have the right to claim his soul. As part of the contract Mephastophilis has to fulfilled Faustus’s every desire. Here again, is Faustus deceived, Because of sacrament or giving praise to good. Mephastophilis cannot give manifestation to his wishes.

Faustus as tragedy, when he asks for a boot to reveals the secrets the universe, Faustus sees the beauty of god’s creation and find that Mephastophilis has deceived him. Now he repents and curse the wicked Mephastophilis by saying, as though you have deprived me of all the joys but you have deceived me. As Faustus begins to repents of his magic and conjuring, the good and bad angel appear to him. The good one tells him that he may redeem his soul. The bad one tells him that, it is too late for him, Faustus as a tragedy created his own grave to gain more knowledge and dealt within the devil of hell.

On every step of his knowledge he deceived but he somehow didn’t realize the outcome of his deal with devil. Faustus now repent and call upon god, and said, ‘O’ Christ savior save my disastrous soul. By the time he prays, Lucifer commands to not to speak in the name of god. Faustus vows to never think of god nor prays. He also vows to burn the scriptures, slay, his ministers and burn down his churches. Mephastophilis gives Faustus his wish of travelling the world and learning the nature of life.

Time passed and the contract of 24 years is up. Faustus is frustrated by the divine limitations of the human condition, but human condition, but human condition, left it as frustrating as the divine limitation. The tragic dilemma for Faustus and a man, and Faustus, the dilemma is tragic for the human aspiration are whetted by divine power, but the divine power is not within the human realm, even if human capabilities are strained to the utmost there is no escape from the sense of limitation either religiously felt or humanity realized.

In Dr. Faustus, Faustus’s acts of ‘necromancy’ and the sale of his soul to gain universal knowledge and power to the devil are diabolic, i.e. the very antithesis of the human as well as divine. The play also provides a complex interaction between the human dimension of the dramatic character and the human ambiguities and ambivalence of the cultural situation the character placed in.

Therefore, Dr. Faustus  is a Christian morality play that deals with the evolution of Faustus as an intensely heroic protagonist, Dr. Faustus begins with the refashioning of the morality play. The play is a human tragedy in which a highly ambitious person’s (Faustus) self his soul to seek power of knowledge but at the same time the play also questions on the effectiveness of the cultural aspiration that shape his desire.


Dr. Faustus character highlights

By Christopher Marlowe

Dr. Faustus is a popular novel published in 1604, by one of the biggest playwrights of Elizabethan Age after Shakespeare.

In this article I am going to highlights some of the major characters of Dr. Faustus

Major Character: Dr. Faustus, Mephastophilis, chorus, old man, good angel, evil angel, Lucifer, Wagner clown, Robin, Rafe, Valdes and Cornelius, Horse courser, the scholars, the pope, emperor Charles V, knight, Bruno, Duke, of Vanholt, Martino and Fredrick.

Character introduction

Dr. Faustus:- The main character or protagonist  is Dr. Faustus, who is a brilliant 16th century scholar form Wittenberg, Germany. His ambition for knowledge, wealth and worldly makes him to pay the ultimate price of his soul to lucifer in exchange for supernatural powers.

Faustus’s initial tragic grandeur is dimension by the fact he never seems completely sure of his  decision to forfeit his soul and constantly wavers about whether or not to repent. His ambition is admirable and initially awesome, yet he ultimately lacks a certain inner strength. He is unable to embrace his dark path wholeheartedly but is also unwilling to admit his mistake.

Mephastophilis:- A Devil whom Faustus summons with his initial magical expression meant Mephistopheles ‘s motivation are ambiguous on the hand, his oft-expressed goal is to catch Faustus soul and carry it off to hell; on the other hand he actively attempts to dissuade Faustus from making a deal with lucifer by warning him about the horrors of hell Mephistopheles hills is with- mately as tragic figure as Faustus, with his moving regretful accounts of what the devils have last in their eternal separation from god and his repeated reflection on the pain that comes with damnation.

Chorus:- A character who stand outside the story, providing narration and come entry. The chorus was customary in Greek tragedy.

Old Man:- An enigmatic figure who appears in the final scene. The old man urges Faustus to repent and to ask god of for mercy. He seems to replace the good and evil angels who in the first scene they to influence Faustus’s behavior.

Good Angel:- A spirit that urges Faustus to repent for his pact with lucifer and return to good angel with the old man and the bad angel, the good angel represents in many ways Faustus omniscience and divided will b/w good and evil.

Evil angel:- A spirit that serves as the counterpart to the good angel and provides Faustus with reasons not to repent for sins against god the evil angel represents the evil half of Faustus’s conscience.

Lucifer: The prince of devils, the ruler of hell, and Mephastophilis masters.

Clown:- Clown, who becomes wagon’s servant. The clown’s antic provides comic relief, he is a ridiculous character, and his absurd behavior initially contrasts with Faustus’s grandeur and as the play goes on Faustus’s behaviors comes to resemble that of the clown.

Robin:- An ostler or innkeeper who like the clown provides a comic contrast to Faustus. Robin and his friend Rafe learn some basic conjuring, demonstrating that even the least scholarly can passes skill in magic. Marlowe includes Robin and Rafe to illustrate Faustus’s degradation as he submits to simple trickery such as theirs.

Rafe:- An Ostler and a friend of Robin who appears in the play as Dick.

Valdes and Cornelius:- Tow friends of Faustus, both are magicians, who teach him (Faustus) the art of black magic.

Horse or Courser:- A horse trader who buys a horse from Faustus, which vanishes after the horse rides on it into the water leading, him to seek revenge.

The scholars:- Faustus’s colleagues at the university of Wittenberg, loyal to Faustus. They appear at the beginning and at the end of the play.  

The Pope:- The head of the Roman Catholic church and a powerful political figure in the Europe of Faustus’s day. The pope serves as both a source of amusement for the play’s protestants audience and a symbol of the religions faith that Faustus has rejected.

Emperor Charles V:- The most powerful monarch in Europe, whose court Faustus visits.

Knight: A German nobleman at the emperor, s court.

Bruno: A candidate for the papacy, supported by the emperor. He is captured by the Pope and freed by Faustus.

Duke of Vanholt:- A German nobleman whom Faustus visits.

Martino and Fredrick:- Friends of Benrolio, who reluctantly join his attempt to kill Faustus.