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It has been suggested that Marlowe's audience would have seen Dr Faustus as a simple morality play. Consider this view using scene 5 as your starting point.

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Introduction

It has been suggested that Marlowe's audience would have seen Dr Faustus as a simple morality play. Consider this view using scene 5 as your starting point. Dr Faustus cannot be seen as a simple morality play but as a play, which deals with and brings into focus complex issues and ethics regarding Elizabethan ideals at that point in time. Scene 5 has significance to the question of whether or not it is true that 'Dr Faustus' is a simple morality play. It is in this particular scene that we find Faustus ready to sell his soul in exchange for what was essentially a servant for 24 years. The Good Angel and the Bad Angel represent Faustus' conscience and present a dichotomy to him i.e. two opposing views to his dilemma of whether he should sell his soul or "abjure this magic, turn to God again". By choosing "that execrable art" of necromancy instead "of heaven, and heavenly things", Marlowe's audience would have seen the eventual downfall of Faustus in this play. ...read more.

Middle

When presented with Mephastophilis' depiction of hell, Faustus responds by replying, "Come, I think hell's a fable" and dismisses religious issues by describing them as "trifles and mere old wives' tales". This shows Faustus being true to himself as it shows his determination to believe only what he himself can prove. When Faustus wishes to "seek to save distressed Faustus' soul", Lucifer appears and puts on a show starring the Seven Deadly Sins to alleviate Faustus' doubt. This seems to be a way of manipulating Faustus by means of distraction. His response to the pageant of the Seven Deadly Sins is the opposite of what might be expected of a typical person, as he comments, "O this feeds my soul", displaying a delight in this transgression, which would instead have been found offensive by Marlowe's audience. Faustus says he would be "happy" if he "might see hell", a juxtaposition that would jolt in the minds of a religious audience. In the historical context of the play, the majority of his audience would have not understood the ideas presented by Marlowe as they would have been mainly poor, uneducated, working-class people. ...read more.

Conclusion

By kissing the apparition of Helen, Faustus commits the ultimate blasphemy as the kiss signifies demonolatry i.e. intercourse with the devil. It is this event that causes the Old Man to give up on Faustus as his soul was now excluded from "the grace of heaven". The last soliloquy of Faustus' seems to be a complete contrast to his first. Faustus wishes that he "had never seen Wittenberg, never read a book" and this opposes his earlier thirst for knowledge and a new challenge. Marlowe's audience would have been all too aware of the vast eternity of damnation that would have awaited him. There was no other way for him to go as Faustus himself admitted "My heart's so hardened I cannot repent". Marlowe uses brilliant heightened blank verse in 'Dr Faustus' to show complex ethics in what is essentially a complex morality play. Towards the end of this play, Faustus becomes increasingly aware of the emptiness of his bargain and the reality of damnation. By pursuing knowledge, Faustus ultimately brought about his own downfall. The play ends with an Epilogue, which is in line with the tradition of Morality Plays. SHAMIMA SHALLY L6ZB ...read more.

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