Term Paper: Faustus' Acceptance to Eternal Damnation

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[. . .] Thus theoretically, all that he needs to do is ask God for forgiveness.

Urged on by on his shoulder or by the Old Man in scene 12, the play offers countless moments in which Faustus considers seeking forgiveness from God. Both the good angel and the Old Man can be seen either as personifications of Faustus's conscience, or as emissaries of God, or both.

Nonetheless, instead of seeking heaven, Faustus decides to remain loyal to hell. This turning away from God condemns him to spend an eternity in hell, in the Christian framework. Only in the final scene, Faustus cries out to Christ to redeem him, thereby showing at the very end of his life the desire to repent. At least in the play, it is too late, for him to repent.

Marlowe steps outside the Christian worldview in order to maximize the dramatic power of the final scene, thereby creating this moment in which Faustus is still alive but incapable of being redeemed. Faustus spends his final moments in a slightly different universe, having inhabited a Christian world for the entire play, where redemption is no longer possible and where certain sins cannot be forgiven.

Faustus Acceptance for Eternal Damnation


The play of Christopher Marlowe, named "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" demonstrates the predicament of a man who looks for the competence of supremacy, even if he must pay for such ability with his soul. Marlowe exhibits a fascinating tale entangled with manifold diverges while teaching Dr. Faustus that man often submits himself powerless against the commanding forces of greed and evil. It is evident that man is at war with nature and the self, aside from the obvious conflict of good vs. evil.

Dr. Faustus' conspiracy with the supernatural leads to a desire for the understanding required to influence the art of necromancy. Faustus desires to be in charge of "all things that move between the quiet poles" (1.56), which comprises also of the artifice of spirits. He eagerly trades his soul to the king of darkness, once he learns that the demon Mephastophilis can grant him such power. In the beginning, Faustus does not materialize to be sorry about his lethal resolution, but later he grows weaker in his assurances and desires to withdraw his bond with Lucifer. In scene five Faustus makes a plea for salvation, "Ah Christ my Savior! Seek to save / Distressed Faustus' soul" (lines 253-254).

Even the Old Man tries to induce Faustus to apologize in order to achieve success over the devil:

see an angel hovers o'er thy head,

And with a vial full of precious grace

Offers to pour the same into thy soul!

Then call for mercy, and avoid despair. (12.43-46)

Faustus considers what the Old Man has proposed but he responds with hesitation. In the end claiming Faustus' soul as its servant, hell emerges victorious. The omnipresent conflict involving the forces of darkness and light marked itself in Marlowe's drama.

In this scenario nature consists of the measures that take place sovereign of man, and the forces that have power over such measures; namely God and Lucifer. Faustus wishes to command events to occur whenever it strikes his fancy and control nature at the same time. Dr. Faustus tells Mephastophilis that he wishes the book "wherein [he] / might behold all spells and incantations, that [he] might raise up spirits / when [he] please [s]" (5.162-164). The doctor asks to be rendered invisible so that he may come and go as he pleases [,] an obvious rebellion against the laws of nature. Eventually Faustus loses his battle and concedes that Nature is far more powerful than he could ever hope to be so he pleads, "Fair Nature's eye, rise, rise again, and make / Perpetual day," (13.60-61). Marlowe makes it apparent that no mere mortal should enter into war against nature without devastating consequences, and he also makes it clear that nature is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

Dr. Faustus he struggles with himself over the decision that leads to eternal damnation and this is where the final conflict of the drama lies. When Faustus refers to himself in third person, which occurs frequently, the state of internal discord becomes apparent. The opening lines of Faustus in scene five provide an example, [:] [you need the colon here because you have written an independent clause, and the quotation is also an independent clause] "Now Faustus, must thou needs be damned, / And canst thou not be saved." When Faustus admonishes himself in scene twelve, another instance transpires, "Where art thou Faustus? Wretch, what hast thou done! / Damned art thou Faustus, damned; despair and die!" (37-38). This drama exposes the repeatedly unsuccessful efforts of man to achieve success over his own sense of right and wrong.

Marlowe illustrates how devastating the results can be when that will is abused and used for personal gain and simultaneously he also illustrates the importance of man's gift of free will. It is not wise to tamper with the order of the universe, as we see with Faustus and his punishment of eternal damnation. Mortal men cannot achieve such tasks as they are of a divine manner.

Faustus's ultimate damnation is what this play constantly hints at. When he tries to sign away his soul his blood congeals; the words "Homo fuge" appears on his arm after he makes the pact, the word means "Fly, man!" And he is continually beleaguered by qualms and fears of hell.

Faustus is the protagonist, the tragic hero, and the title character of Marlowe's play. He is capable of tremendous eloquence and possessed of awesome ambition, he is also a contradictory character, nonetheless prone to an odd, nearly headstrong blindness, and an eagerness to throw away the supremacy that he has achieved at great cost. He was just preparing to embark on his career as a magician, in the very beginning, and while we by now expect that things will turn out badly (the Chorus's introduction, if nothing else prepares us), there is however a magnificence to Faustus, as he considers all the wonders that his magical powers will create.

He pictures reshaping the map of Europe (both politically and physically), piling up wealth from the four corners of the globe, and gaining access to every scrap of knowledge about the universe. True, he is self-aggrandizing, and also an arrogant man, but his aims are so impressive that we cannot help being sympathetic, and even impressed. Faustus, at least in his early stage of magical acquisition, is the personification of possibility. He represents the spirit of the Renaissance, with its rejection of the medieval, God-centered universe, and its embrace of human possibility.

It would not be an overstatement to say that he desires for everything. But during his bargaining sessions with Mephastophilis, it becomes apparent that Faustus also possesses an obtuseness. Faustus seems to happily blind his own self to what a pact actually means, after having decided that a pact with the devil is the only way to fulfill his ambitions. Sometimes he tells himself that one only needs "fortitude" and that hell is not so bad; while conversing with Mephastophilis, at other times, he remarks to the disbelieving demon that he does not actually believe hell exists. On an impressive scale this can be termed as blindness.

In the meantime, in the face of his unconcerned analysis of never-ending damnation, Faustus is also overwhelmed with uncertainties from the commencement of the play, setting a prototype for the play in which he will constantly come up to regret and sorrow, only to pull back at the last instant. Why he does not succeed to apologize and regret is uncertain: sometimes a conviction that God will not hear his plea, sometimes it seems to be pride and continuing ambition, and sometimes Mephastophilis seems to simply bully him.

Marlowe spends the middle scenes revealing his true, petty nature, after setting his protagonist up as a grandly tragic figure of sweeping visions and immense ambitions, thereby, pointing out that bullying Faustus is less difficult than it might seem. Faustus does not seem to know what to do with his long-desired powers, once gains them.

Gradually, the fields of possibility narrow, as he performs ever-more- unimportant magic tricks, and visits ever-more-minor nobles, until the Faustus of the first few scenes seems to be completely consumed up in weakness.

As the knowledge of his impending doom restores his earlier gift for powerful rhetoric, only in the final scene is Faustus rescued from mediocrity, and he reclaims his sweeping intellect of vision. Only now, the image he perceives is hell frightening up to consume him.

Finally it was too late for Marlowe to invest much of his finest poetry on Faustus's final hours, in which the wish for regret at last wins out. However, in his closing speech he still with… [END OF PREVIEW]

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