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

Do Renaissance texts deal primarily with Renaissance concerns, or with universal human emotions and themes? Illustrate your answer from at least TWO texts.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Do Renaissance texts deal primarily with Renaissance concerns, or with universal human emotions and themes? Illustrate your answer from at least TWO texts. Literary works in sixteenth-century England were rarely if ever created in isolation from affairs in the cultural and social world. Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (published in 1590) and Christopher Marlowe's Dr Faustus (1601) were written during a period widely accepted as the Renaissance, which is said to have reached England in the early sixteenth-century. Literally, the term means 'rebirth' and it signified a resurgence in the arts and sciences. New discoveries were being made in all fields, as people began to question what they were told by the church and the state. One of the most important changes that took place during this time was the creation of the Church of England in defiance of the Pope and Roman Catholicism. When Elizabeth became queen in 1558, her right to the throne was still not accepted by the church in Rome or even by a number of her own subjects. Spenser and Marlowe were undoubtedly aware of the time they lived in, as many of their works show. In The Faerie Queene Spenser, who was called 'Elizabeth's arse-licking poet' by Karl Marx, presents an eloquent and captivating representation of the Roman Catholic as the evil force pitted against England and the rightful queen. However, the story of the Red Crosse Knight could be read simply as a tale of honour, love and a young man's battle with his inner demons. ...read more.

Middle

is slandered as Duessa in The Faerie Queene. Soon after the first three books were published, Spenser was awarded a handsome pension of fifty pounds a year, and given lands in Ireland. It appears that the Queen appreciated his support in this popular poem. What else can be said about The Faerie Queene? I don't think it is just a collection of Protestant propaganda. On a lower level, it is an adventurous tale of love and honour, but I believe that this allegory has another, deeper meaning, concerning what makes a true man. In Spenser's Image of Nature, Cheney writes: [Spenser] provides graphic evidence that man must never permit his civilisation to render him incapable of defending himself against the enemies of that civilisation We must remember that although the knight may represent the Protestant's struggle, he is also an individual. After the Red-Crosse Knight has defeated the evil Errour, he goes on to battle other enemies, including the pagan warrior Sans Loy, or 'without law', Sans joy (without joy) and Orgoglio, representing pride. It's as if the knight must do battle with his own negative emotions to win his battle. In his letter to Raleigh, Spenser states that the main purpose of his poem is: 'To fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline'. In other words, over the twelve stories that were to make up The Faerie Queene Spenser hoped to present the individual moral qualities that make up the perfect human being. ...read more.

Conclusion

They taught basic moral values that are still held in high regard today, like honesty and courage. The play is in essence, about a human being whose ambition and vision lead him to challenge the basic fundamental laws of the world around him. This type of story is common throughout literary history. If then, we ignore the historical context that Dr Faustus was written in, we can say it is a play dealing with human concerns, specifically with the common theme of man wanting more than is realistically possible. In Conclusion, it is obvious that both Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser were aware of the situation and feeling in England at the time they wrote their works. At a time when literature was heavily censored by the state, it is unsurprising that they show, if only slightly, support for the current regime and the ideology it stood for. However, like any other story, the tales of Dr Faustus and the Red Crosse Knight must contain some sort of human theme, or they simply wouldn't be stories at all. Marlowe was eventually charged with heresy and blasphemy for his views, but was killed under dubious circumstances before the warrant could be executed. I think that most Renaissance texts deal with Renaissance concerns, but only because most authors at the time would find it impossible to ignore the world around them. Like stories from any age, Renaissance texts deal primarily with human emotions and themes. ...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. "An impressive opening, a marvellous ending, an indifferent middle". Does this twentieth century comment ...

    Upon the arrival of the devils he is seized by fear and panic, willing his soul to "be changed into little water drops" and imploring God to "look not so fierce" in him. His final desperate plea "I'll burn my books" is deeply moving considering the futile nature of the gesture.

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

    They are typical of a device often used in Elizabethan theatre, and would have been dressed grotesquely in such a way to extract laughter from the audience. This is somewhat contradictory, as making the sins into a joke may serve to lessen their potential to be a warning to Faustus to change his ways.

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

    concurs with the Bad Angel about Faustus' damnation, suggesting the opportunities for repentance and hence salvation have, for the most part, slipped Faustus by without him choosing to repent. Thus unlike in the traditional Morality, where good triumphs over evil and salvation proves more powerful than damnation, Faustus' death and damnation are the closing notes of the play.

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

    For Marlowe magic is a downright dangerous practise. He was here expressing the common belief that unlike the good magic praticsed by scholars and physicans Black magic was a dangerous place to go and that the occult could lead to a life of damnation.

  1. What do you see as the key features in the renaissance, in terms of ...

    With the power of his plays Marlowe was able to alter public opinion and allow people to think freely this is why in a literary sense Marlowe was characteristic of the renaissance as he was putting over a point of view through his plays.

  2. Marlowes original title was The Tragicall history of Dr. Faustus. To what extent do ...

    Faustus says, 'I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live,/to do what Faustus shall command,/but to make the moon drop from the sphere,/ or the ocean to overwhelm the world.' Faustus's belief that he can achieve anything leads to his death but he is not tragic as he is

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

    And Mephistophilis dryly rebuffs him: "I am a servant to great Lucifer And may not follow thee without his leave; No more than he commands must we perform." This rebuking disparagement, although suggesting the depth and intellect of the fallen angel, aligns with the typical medieval mystery play representation of a devil that scorns human beings.

  2. Discuss how Marlowe presents Faustus at the beginning of the play

    Despite his arrogance and association with sin, the protagonist character must be credited throughout the beginning of the play for his determination, ?This night I?ll conjure, though I die therefore?; which commands a respect for him as a character. However, this determination may also be considered by the audience as

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