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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

"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.

Conclusion

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.

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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

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