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Significance of omens as seen in Dr Faustus and Julius Caesar

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Zohra Fathima The role of omens as seen in Julius Caesar and Dr. Faustus The play Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe starts with a brief introduction by the chorus which gives the audience an insight into Faustus's life, up the point the story starts. Faustus like Caesar is a very ambitious man and like Caesar he too was born into a family "base of stock" from where he worked his way to the top. This growing ambition also makes Faustus' "waxen wings...mount above his reach". This brings to mind the story of Icarus who too ended up like Faustus. Faustus acquires knowledge in all the areas possible for the human mind till he decides to try out something out of the unknown, something which would make him as good as God or better than Him. This thirst for supremacy makes him so dissatisfied that he pays the ultimate price, a pact with Lucifer for selling his soul in return for 24 years of the Devil's service to him. He doesn't realize that wisdom is more important than knowledge and unknowingly strives after the impossible. This play features the devolvement of a scholar who could've contributed significantly to society had he not been so focused with his self-centeredness. He undermines the authority of God and takes his future in his own hands and thereby violates the very essence of theology in his search for glory. ...read more.


The following scene sounds his agony at what he has done. There is another battle of conscience here and Faustus comes so close to repenting that he cries out: "Ah, Christ, my Saviour, Seek to save distressed Faustus' soul." The effect of these words is so much that Lucifer, the Prince of the East and Bezlebub themselves come from hell to pacify him from succumbing to repentance. They accomplish this by flattery, the power of persuasion. This is perhaps another one of the things Faustus has in common with Caesar, he is easily persuaded. Julius Caesar, by Shakespeare is a tragic play which deals with the murder of the protagonist Caesar in the Roman Era. Caesar, like Faustus is very ambitious. Caesar is a brilliant warrior but is unable to express the love for his people because of his higher position; he is more involved in matters of the State. So he isn't as devoted to the public as Brutus or the others. This along with his physical weakness is one of his short comings. The opening scene starts with Caesar's victory over "Pompey's blood". People are seen celebrating out in the streets and through the conversation between the tribunes: Flavius and Murellus, the audience can infer from this scene that a section of Roman society is resentful towards Caesar. ...read more.


is upon them, as it is after their decided course of action that all the Senators (except Brutus who acts due to honorable reasons) meet with a grim fate, they are beheaded. As the audience get deeper and deeper into the plot, many more signs come to light; the audience can feel that the hand of fate is drawing to a close that what is about to happen. In most of the cases when the omens appear the characters undeniably ignore them and this proves their own strength and valor at facing it because they do not trudge along a path when it is shown to them but use their own free will to decide their own course of action. They let destiny take its own route and act according to what they feel and perceive. The other omens are dead men walking, sacrificed animals that lack hearts and Calpurnia's dream of Caesar's statue running with blood and people washing their hands in his blood with smiles on their faces; the lattermost omen is depicted in Act 2, Scene 2. This reflects the actions and perceptions of the other members of the Senate. Caesar comes to believe that Calpurnia has clearly misinterpreted her dream. He believes he is willfully acting for the right cause by attending the meeting that day when this is what leads to his fated death. ...read more.

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