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Faustus: Renaissance Martyr or Tragic Hero

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  • Essay length: 3222 words
  • Submitted: 11/02/2005
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AS and A Level Christopher Marlowe

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Faustus: Renaissance Martyr or Tragic Hero

Faustus died a death that few could bear to imagine, much less experience. After knowing for many years when exactly he would die, he reached the stroke of the hour of his destiny in a cowardly, horrid demeanor. Finally, when the devils appeared at the stroke of midnight, tearing at his flesh as they draw him into his eternal torment, he screams for mercy without a soul, not even God Himself, to help him. However, what to consider Doctor John Faustus from Christopher Marlow's dramatic masterpiece The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is a very debatable issue. For example, one can see that he threw his life away for the sake of knowledge, becoming obsessed with the knowledge that he could possess. In this case, he is unarguably a medieval tragic hero. However, when considering the fact that he died for the sake of gaining knowledge, pushing the limits of what is possible in spite of obvious limitations and, eventually, paying the ultimate penalty, he could be considered a Renaissance martyr. These two points of view have their obvious differences, and depending on from what time

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