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

Marlowes original title was The Tragicall history of Dr. Faustus. To what extent do you consider Faustus a truly tragic figure?

Extracts from this document...


Marlowe's original title was 'The Tragicall history of Dr. Faustus'. To what extent do you consider Faustus a truly tragic figure? 'Doctor Faustus' was written in 1593 and it is a morality play depicting the fall of Doctor Faustus. Doctor Faustus is a highly intelligent man who rose to become the top of many academic subjects at a young age. Calvinism is also a very important theme of the play. Calvinism is the belief that one's fate is decided by god at birth and hence no matter what good one does in their life if they are not the elect then they will go to hell. Faustus believes in this to some extent as towards the end of his life he repeatedly mentions that god will have no mercy on him and that his fate is sealed. The reason for Faustus's desire to practice necromancy stems from his belief that he felt that no other subject could satisfy him enough or perhaps in the case of philosophy, he believes that he has achieved all what one can in the subject, as he says, 'then read no more, thou has attained the end'. Faustus goes onto reject medicine, law and theology with each discipline having their own problems which Faustus believes makes him incompatible with them. One opinion that Faustus was a tragic figure is because he never truly understood what necromancy consisted of and the consequences of it. ...read more.


Faustus repeatedly rejects god in the play because he never believed in god's capacity for mercy, as he says, 'and canst thou not be saved/ what boots it then to think of God or heaven'. Faustus's continued misconception about mercy and redemption stays with him to his fateful end. In the moments before Faustus's death the old man visits him and he begs Faustus to repent, as he says, 'by which sweet path thou may'st attain the goal-that shall conduct thee to celestial rest'. Faustus therefore still had the opportunity to divert from his evil ways and to follow the path of righteousness, he however rejects the old man and he further seals his fate when he says, 'I will confirm/ my former vow I made to Lucifer' followed by, 'torment, sweet friend, that base and crooked age'. Faustus not only confirms his allegiance to Lucifer he also commits perhaps his worst sin so far of ordering Mephistophilis to 'torment' the old man. Faustus's anagnorisis comes when he says, 'fair nature's eye, rise, rise again, and ,make/perpetual day, or let this hour be but a year, a month, a week, a natural day,/ that Faustus may repent and save his soul'. Time is moving too fast, and Faustus acknowledges that it is too late to repent. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero must have a moment of anagnorisis to be a tragic figure and Faustus does have one and hence one could argue that he is a tragic figure. ...read more.


Faustus is also guilty of demonality shown through him summoning Helen of Troy, the woman who caused a war that lasted 10 years. It is also ironic that Faustus says, 'that heaven be in these lips' about Helen as she is a devil here. Finally, Faustus is also guilty of despair, shown through him saying, 'a surfeit of deadly sin that hath damned both body and soul' . This is the worst sin that man can do as they have no opportunity to repent. In conclusion, I belief that Faustus is a tragic hero because although he committed terrible sins he is merely guilty of being human with immoral urges. Dr. Faustus is a morality play, it illustrates to the audience how one should not behave but it also illustrates the temptations that are put to them. Faustus had great ability but he unfortunately channeled his abilities in the wrong fashion. A tragic figure, according to Aristotle should be of high status so he would have further to fall, the hero should bring his own peripeteia because of his hamartia; the audience would also most likely have pathos for Faustus, sympathy because Faustus, other than his fateful flaw is actually a likeable character. The audience should also appreciate Faustus's fear because they can relate to his fall from grace and finally a tragic hero must have a moment of anagnorisis. Faustus has all these qualities in him and hence this is the reason why I believe that Faustus is a tragic hero. ...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 becomes frustrated by not gaining the forbidden knowledge which he seeks and longs for. This in turn makes him annoyed that his power is useless; he begins to use this power for petty and trivial affairs and becomes little more than an amateur magician performing childish tricks for the amusement of others.

  2. Choruses - what is the importance of these speeches in 'Dr. Faustus?

    However, it is simplistic to simply say that religion was a prominent feature in everybody's life as different attitudes towards religion were certainly emerging, particularly Calvin's pre-destination and Luther's 'justification by faith alone' theories and the play certainly reflects this.

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

    Even more horrifying is the way in which the brilliant scholar uses the language of love poetry to damn himself, and yet the lyrical beauty of the verse remains. When he says "her lips suck forth my soul", Faustus is not only using a rapturous metaphor: it is actually happening!

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

    In the first soliloquy we find Doctor Faustus drawing a list of options and systematically rejecting them. In the last soliloquy also Faustus is discovered considering a series of options and rejecting them. But the difference lies in the fact that whereas in the first he contemplates a career of

  1. There are many aspects in act one scene one of Doctor Faustus which illustrates ...

    The agony expressed by both characters is to some degree hyperbolised by the grotesque images and intense pain. However, it is the suffering, which stresses the direct links between Doctor Faustus and the Prometheus myth. The excruciating pain maintained by Prometheus, exposes the theme of suffering.

  2. Dr. Faustus Essay. In Christopher Marlows seventeenth century play, Faustus, hubris leads to ...

    Faustus uses his powers to travel around the world and insists on invading the Pope's chamber to play a practical joke. He taunts the Pope and friars by intercepting plates of food and punishing them for crossing themselves. Faustus's hubris is blatantly illustrated while gleefully laughing with Mephistophilis.

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

    The majority of this scene is deadly serious because Faustus signs the contract with Lucifer and is presented with many warnings against this pact, which he stupidly ignores. However, towards the end of Scene five Faustus requests a woman and Mephastophilis presents him with a devil dressed as a woman.

  2. Free essay

    Compare the first and final soliloquies in Dr Faustus - is Faustus a hero ...

    any concern for Faustus as he appears to be a knowledgeable man. However, Faustus quickly declines from this and when picking up Jerome's Bible fails to see anything positive on the pages, he appears to be only seeing what he wants to see and omits anything positive, "Stipendium peccqati mors est.

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