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

By considering what Faustus gains in exchange for his soul, explore the ways Marlowe presents 16th Century views of pleasure and power in Dr. Faustus.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Emma Bassett By considering what Faustus gains in exchange for his soul, explore the ways Marlowe presents 16th Century views of pleasure and power in Dr. Faustus. Dr Faustus is a 16th century morality play, which taught and played upon the Elizabethan views of the time. It explores the pleasure/power ethical divide by tempting Faustus with both "happiness" and "control" all for the sake of his mortal soul. This didactic play was written, first and foremost to get audience attendance and build popularity, and secondly to teach the common people, who would be the typical audience. Faustus believes that his gain in exchange for his soul is far more rewarding than anything God could give him, the devil promises knowledge, power and certainly pleasure. Before he even sells his soul, his flippant disregard for the joys of heaven are shown by his gluttonous feasting and lack of fear for his soul dying. Faustus does not realise what he is giving up, for a supposedly intelligent man, he only looks for material gain and power "From Venice shall they drag huge argosies" thus reflecting Faustus' want for treasure. ...read more.

Middle

Faustus' greed is also shown when he himself says "The God thou servest is thine own appetite" Faustus attempts to gain pleasure from being the best at everything, the most intelligent and cunning, when he really is the most stupid and used. Faustus' very ambition reflects the Renaissance feeling of the time, many people, especially those whom represented religion, viewed the Renaissance changes as evil, and products of the devil. In a way Marlowe could have been pleasing the majority of the audience by agreeing with them, and showing that the old ways would win out in the end. Marlowe presents the power over Faustus with several different people. Ultimately he has to answer to God and since he sold his soul to the devil, Lucifer and Mephastophilis. He also has to weald to his over reaching ambition which is constantly pushing him toward his ultimate goal - God like status. Faustus, with his new acclaimed "power" does not realise that he had the power to gain respect, knowledge and wealth but did not use it and was in fact "tricked" into selling his soul to Lucifer. ...read more.

Conclusion

His first soliloquy seems to hark back to his intellectual curiosity, but this is overweighed by his belief in superiority over Mephastophilis, both in power and intelligence. The Renaissance itself over promoted the role of the individual, at least that is how Marlowe portrays it with the conflicting master/servant roles. Some, if not all the pleasures Faustus experiences are but illusions, just like his power, he always possessed it, but never used it. This is ironic, knowing that Faustus, in the end, rejects the greatest pleasure of all, eternal bliss. The reflections of the Renaissance mind are shown by Faustus in his first speech of doubt over his decision "Now go not backward". The fatal flaw to the Renaissance mind is that of arrogance. What Faustus gains in exchange for his most important possession is virtually nothing. All the knowledge he wanted, he already had, all the power he could realistically get was all attainable, all the respect he wanted, he was on the way to getting. Marlowe was writing the play specifically to tailor to the 16th century audience, the humour and moral points are highlighted by Faustus greed and arrogance, and eventual loss of everything. ...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

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

    Absolute Power Simply Seems To Corrupt Faustus. Once He Can Do Everything, He No ...

    4 star(s)

    He wants everything to immediately take place. Faustus deludes himself, thinking he has power over everything but it soon becomes evident that Faustus has not conjured these spirits himself. He fluctuates between resolution and redemption throughout the play. It begins to become clear that the lust for forbidden knowledge could possibly drive Faustus so insane and make

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

    This episode contributed greatly to the dramatic tension of the scene. The congealing of the blood is part literal, but part metaphorical in the sense that it is Faustus' own body recoiling from the deed he is about to commit.

  1. 'Compare the ways that Marlowe and Chaucer present the theme of sin in 'Dr ...

    This is very similar to Faustus' desire to escape the world of mortal knowledge. Covetousness tells us of its 'sweet gold': Faustus too tells us of his desire to 'heap up gold' in the opening scene of the play. Thus, there are many warning signs for Faustus in the pageant,

  2. In what ways and with what effects does 'Dr. Faustus' question the acquisition and ...

    on me, To give me whatsoever I shall ask, To tell me whatsoever I demand, To slay mine enemies, and aid my friends, And always be obedient to my will." 3 (iii. 91-8) The play shows how his scholarly status, broad-based knowledge and education have given him access to higher

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

    This presents an entirely different opinion of Mephistophilis' character. Levin suggests that instead of gleefully and fiendishly attempting to entice Faustus into selling his soul, he in fact appreciates Faustus' dilemma but cannot do anything to save him because Mephistophilis himself is condemned to hell and bringing damnation to others.

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

    Scenes where the majority of the content is serious but that contain some light comic touches only really appear at the beginning of the play (Scene three etc.) and then not again until much later on (Scene eight onwards). This could be because during Scene Three Faustus lusts after the

  1. Do Renaissance texts deal primarily with Renaissance concerns, or with universal human emotions and ...

    If we take the dragon to represent the Roman Catholic Church, Spenser's views are clear. The knight first sees the monster when his 'glistring armour (symbolic of Christianity's struggle) made / a little glomming light' allowing him to see the 'ugly monster plaine' (1.121).

  2. Analysis of Faustus Soliloquy.

    His claim that because of his work 'whole cities have escaped the plague, and thousand desperate maladies been cured'. This may further fascinate the reader, as there is something he may find more desirable or satisfactory than saving the lives of thousands.

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