• 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. Peer reviewed

    It has been suggested that Marlowe's audience would have seen Dr Faustus as a ...

    3 star(s)

    is not blindfolded by greed, so surely his heart would be the one part of him that would cause him to repent. This shows that he does not have a heart anymore; it has been taken away with his spirit once he signed the contract.

  2. "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.

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

    Mephistopheles is clearly reminiscent of the Vice character in Morality plays, taking the role of the tempter in a manner both sinister and comic. The Morality tradition also comes into focus when salvation is being talked about as the "bliss" that ought to be the spiritual aim of every man.

  2. 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.'

  1. 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.

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

    Thus in the last phase of his life, Faustus becomes completely alone, just as he was in the beginning. The difference, in the context, is, in the first scene, Faustus was alone but not lonely, and now none is beside to accompany him to hell.

  1. How Successfully Does Marlowe portrayal of Faustus reflect the attitudes and beliefs of Elizabethan ...

    the medieval world, which prized authority above all else, in favor of a more modern spirit of free inquiry, in which experimentation and innovation trump the assertions of Greek philosophers and the Bible. Elizabethans believed they could achieve above what was realistically possible.

  2. Marlowe's Mephistophilis is a brilliant but ultimately unsatisfactory creation because Marlowe cannot decide whether ...

    Faustus thinks he is in charge of the devil he believes he summoned; yet Mephistophilis carries all the intellectual weight and coolly corrects Faustus with astonishingly powerful lines that suggest his position with succinct clarity. It is also clear that at times Marlowe does intend for Mephistophilis to be perceived

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