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To an Elizabethan audience we can be sure that Faustus rebellion would be exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. Explore this statement considering the cultural and religious values of Marlowes day.

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Introduction

"To an Elizabethan audience we can be sure that Faustus' rebellion would be exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure." Explore this statement considering the cultural and religious values of Marlowe's day. Dr Faustus was written by Christopher Marlowe in the Elizabethan era, which was a time of great religious importance, and high in catholic beliefs. Catholics believed that God was the most powerful entity in the word and the creator of the universe. Faustus condemned his soul to the devil, in order to become as powerful as God himself. This act is ironic in itself, however to an Elizabethan audience, this act of rebellion would not only be frightening, but in many ways exhilarating. There is no-one in the world, old or young, who would not give everything they have to become as powerful as God, but would not dare rebel against the lord. ...read more.

Middle

Faustus' eyes are glistened by the idea of gold and power, but he doesn't realise until late on that he is losing his soul to a power he cannot control. However, it is not only the religious values of an Elizabethan audience that would have lead to an exhilarating yet terrifying response. Cultural factors, including the society at the time, would have had a major affect on the audience's reaction. In the Elizabethan era, there was the controlled and the controlling, the peasants and the ruling. This therefore meant that if given the chance to gain power, as Faustus had, many if not all of the people at that time would have snatched at the opportunity to gain immediate gratification, especially peasants. ...read more.

Conclusion

If it was a play of a peasant who sold his soul to the Devil, the audience were less likely to be excited and exhilarated, as they probably didn't particularly care about peasants as they were of a lower class and status. But the fact that it was a tale of a man of their class and status made it much more dramatic, tense, exciting, yet terrifying to watch. To conclude, it is clear that Faustus' act of rebellion was both exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure, due to cultural factors at the time such as the class differences in society, and also because of the religious values in a highly non-secular society. However, I believe that the audience would have had more of an exciting reaction to the play, as it was so dramatic and unheard of that no-one really knew the true consequence, but were excited to find out what would really happen. ...read more.

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