• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Absolute Power Simply Seems To Corrupt Faustus. Once He Can Do Everything, He No Longer Wants To Do Anything; Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Absolute Power Simply Seems To Corrupt Faustus. Once He Can Do Everything, He No Longer Wants To Do Anything; Discuss. Marlowe's representation of Doctor Faustus changes direction through the play. We follow the change in ambition and greed of a human being who seeks pleasure so much that he sells his soul to the devil for a number of years. Does the power that Faustus obtains corrupt him or is he merely dissatisfied with the power he has and is greedy for more. At the start of the play, Marlowe uses powerful language when referring to Faustus' search for knowledge. "O, What a world of profit and delight, of power, of honour, of omnipotence, is promis'd to the studious artisan". This is what Faustus wishes to obtain, the forbidden knowledge that he feels he can achieve, however it seems strange that Faustus should want to learn more and to be taught and able to understand this forbidden knowledge as he previously bids a farewell to thinking "Divinity, adieu!". ...read more.


"Rather illusions, fruits of lunacy". Faustus is in search of immediate gratification. His impatience is not a good mix with his hunger for great power. Faustus is determined to achieve great things but he seems to lose sight of his original plans the further we delve into the play. The most impressive thing he seems to achieve is his provocation of the pope. The way that Faustus is acting is childish and unsophisticated. His behaviour can be compared to that of the clowns who, in their dismissal of the seriousness of conjuring the devils, highlight the change in Faustus plans, from grandeur and high aspirations to pettiness and childishness. The closer Faustus gets to the end of his contract with the devil, the closer he is to damnation and the more childish his behaviour becomes. Faustus is using his power for trivial matters. "Shall make poor Faustus to his utmost power both love and serve the German Emperor and lay his life holy Bruno's feet." ...read more.


He has not achieved any of these, which seems to push the answer into being that Faustus was merely greedy. He wanted everything and more. What he really wanted, he would never be able to obtain and he has lost sight of all else. He is unable to distinguish between what is important and what is petty. Faustus has also become unaware of the need to repent. During the first part of the play, he is tempted to repent and break from his contract but then he becomes deluded and tempted by the great power he possibly could have. If he had repented, perhaps he would be closer to the knowledge he seeks than he is in his alliance with Lucifer. Thus, it seems that Faustus' greed is what corrupts him and not merely the power. He has the power to do great things but he has no interest in his aspirations anymore. He is just greedy to obtain the forbidden knowledge which he will, ironically, never be able to learn due to turning away from the one who holds it all. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christopher Marlowe section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

As sound essay that explores some interesting interpretations; however the whole response needs further development and further analysis of more evidence from the text.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 18/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christopher Marlowe essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Can Faustus truly be regarded as a tragic hero

    4 star(s)

    Faustus, and one which is important when considering Faustus himself as a tragic hero. If, indeed, Faustus has the freedom necessary to change or reverse his predicament then he is truly a tragic hero. The chorus' assertion that "cut is the branch which might have grown full straight", does seem

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the presentation of Faustus in the opening scenes.

    3 star(s)

    Faustus however dismisses Mephastophilis' concerns as he does on many occasions, choosing instead to ignore all the horrors of hell he is told of.

  1. Doctor Faustus -a morality play? we will discuss how the Renaissance tragedy Doctor Faustus ...

    Apart from this, the comic scenes that deploy parody, slapstick humour and burlesque are similar to the farcical interludes interspersed between the scenes of serious medieval plays as a mode of comic relief and satirical comment. Finally just like many morality plays Doctor Faustus also suffers from looseness of construction especially in the middle part of the play.

  2. How does Faustus use the magical gifts that he receives?

    Faustus exemplifies his desire to be the master of all. His reference to the quiet poles means that Faustus wants to rule the entire world, from North to South. The audience are reminded that Faustus is just a man; "Yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man," however, he forgets his place in society.

  1. "An impressive opening, a marvellous ending, an indifferent middle". Does this twentieth century comment ...

    "I'll have them ransack the ocean for orient pearl and search all corners of the new found world for pleasant fruits and princely delicacies". At this point, we are disturbed by Faustus' behaviour; it is as though he is making extravagant promises to a beloved rather than seeking these things for himself.

  2. Comparative discussions between the First and Last soliloquies in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.

    Henry Levin's saying, "Tragedy is an isolating experience" can aptly be quoted here to describe Faustus's predicament. Even in the end Faustus, the great scholar thinks - "I'll burn my books", which may be a means to save him. To our utter astonishment we thus hear how pathetically this great scholar rejects the pursuit of knowledge.

  1. Choruses - what is the importance of these speeches in 'Dr. Faustus?

    This attitude is reflected in the introduction to the play: ''He surfeits upon cursed necromancy' The word 'necromancy' appearing at the end of the line invites the chorus to then pause in order to dramatise the danger Faustus is getting into and exploit the fear that surrounded 'going to hell.'

  2. Comment on the relationship between the comic and serious material in Dr Faustus.

    at that time in England Catholicism was banned and the Catholic Church was referred to as 'Whore of Babylon'. Because of this any comment degrading of Monks would have been found funny. However, Marlowe was actually taking quite a big risk in mocking Catholicism because monarchs were being replaced so

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work