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

There are many aspects in act one scene one of Doctor Faustus which illustrates identical or parallel themes that derive from the Prometheus myth. Throughout the scene Faustus appears to be discontented

Extracts from this document...


There are many aspects in act one scene one of Doctor Faustus which illustrates identical or parallel themes that derive from the Prometheus myth. Throughout the scene Faustus appears to be discontented with the result of all his learning, he reveals that, 'a greater subject fitteth Faustus wit1'. His obsession to obtain the ability to develop his knowledge reveals his determination to gain power and enlightenment. Faustus rejects the thought of being an esteemed physician; he dismisses the study of law as work that 'fits a mercenary drudge2'. On the other hand, he argues that Divinity cannot offer him the glory he seeks as he concludes that as we are all sinners we must 'die an everlasting death3'. Therefore, he turns to necromancy, the study of black arts. His strive to gain power is further emphasized by his belief that 'a sound magician is a mighty god4', implying he regards a magician to be able to sustain power equal to that of which God possesses. This rivalry over power between the magician and God is explored in Prometheus Bound, where we establish the antagonism between Prometheus and Zeus as they compete for greater strength and power. ...read more.


Additionally, Faustus' later statement 'both law and physic are for petty wits8', illustrates his rejection and dissatisfaction of what he has obtained. Thus from the outset of the play we see a man who is educated, proud, egotistic, but also pitiable in his desire to possess a god-like power. Similarly, Prometheus shares some of these qualities, as it is his knowledge and ego, which lead to his ultimate punishment. Clearly, Doctor Faustus, act one scene one, demonstrates the essential themes maintained in Prometheus myth, he is obsessed with power and is determined to gain wisdom and enlightenment, as he overreaches, just like Prometheus. Consequently, our central characters both share comparable weaknesses, which we discover through their pride and ego. Moreover, fate is another crucial factor explored in Greek tragedies. The Prometheus myth offers one extended Scene of Suffering, which is apparent as Prometheus is literally chained by his fate. Similarly, this is explored in Doctor Faustus as Marlowe presents the struggle with religion throughout, which inevitably leads to his ultimate deterioration and damnation by his descending to hell. Faustus' speech offers a tone of helplessness and sourness as he quotes from Romans 6.23, 'the reward of sin is death. ...read more.


Though it is not until act five, scene two, where we establish the deep distress and anguish experienced by Faustus, act one, scene one, also offers a struggle within Faustus' identity as he battles with his individuality and beliefs. The illustration of the good and evil angels may be a personification of the conflict and choices that continue to face Faustus. Their opposing views represent Faustus' confusion, and in turn highlight his suffering within the opening of the play. Hence, it is evident that the text engages with the Prometheus myth as it demonstrates aspects of torture and damnation, which are apparent in Prometheus bound. In conclusion, although Doctor Faustus contains a different setting and a contrasting society from what we are familiar with in Prometheus myth, we can still discern similarities as well as conflicts between the Christian worldviews and the Greek or renaissance worldviews, which becomes explicit by the identical themes between them. The reference to Icarus foreshadows Faustus' fate as he endeavours to gain knowledge, his overreaching desire parallels the Prometheus myth, hence, it is no surprise to find that Prometheus' suffering is re-established in Faustus' struggle. Moreover, the texts continue to engage thematically as we identify power, pride, and rebellion, in which our protagonists face. ...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. "An impressive opening, a marvellous ending, an indifferent middle". Does this twentieth century comment ...

    By now, the tragedy is inevitable; Faustus has rejected all hope of salvation, and the audience wait for his impending doom with trepidation. The final scene, in which we witness Faustus' death is both memorable and moving. His solitude at the end of the play compliments his solitude at the

  2. Doctor Faustus -a morality play? we will discuss how the Renaissance tragedy Doctor Faustus ...

    Mephistopheles is clearly reminiscent of the Vice character in Morality plays, taking the role of the tempter in a manner both sinister and comic. The Morality tradition also comes into focus when salvation is being talked about as the "bliss" that ought to be the spiritual aim of every man.

  1. Would You Consider Doctor Faustus to be a Medieval Morality Play or a Renaissance ...

    These ingredients would normally include movement from innocence, through experience, followed by a fall and final redemption. The morality plays central function is to celebrate the truth of the Christian message and to show it as it works in the life of a typical person.

  2. Discuss the presentation of Faustus' inner conflict in Act 1 scene 5 of Doctor ...

    At the very beginning of Act 1 Scene 5 the "Good" Angel speaks to Faustus more than the "Evil" Angel does. This represents the fact that at this point Faustus has not wholly made up his mind as to whether to make the pact with Lucifer or not and may still be swayed either way.

  1. The tragical history of 'Doctor Faustus', which followed in the wake of 'Tamburlaine', is ...

    As Levin's comment on the structural weakness of the play is just and relevant: "Examined more technically the play has a strong beginning and even a stronger end but its middle section, whether we abridge it or bombast it out, is unquestionably weak ".

  2. Dr Faustus is more morality play than gothic. How far does your reading of ...

    The good angel encourages Faustus to "Repent yet, God will pity thee" whereas the evil angel ends with a reminder that "Thou art a sprit, God cannot pity thee". Marlowe's use of the good and evil angel could be interpreted a physical representative of Faustus, and the human race, own conscience and on-going battle between right and wrong.

  1. Remind yourself of Scene 12 (pages 59-63)

    There is much dramatic irony created during the introduction of Scene 12. Although an extremely moving speech by the Old Man-representing Christian faith-both Faustus and the audience know he will always return to the Devil. As Faustus continues to fluctuate between God and Lucifer, however tempting it may be for Faustus to return to God, we know he will not.

  2. Faustus: Renaissance Martyr or Tragic Hero

    Faustus" (Shipley 404). Because Faustus gave his life and soul to Satan himself for the sake of gaining a greater knowledge is proof that he is a Renaissance hero. He rebels against the limitations set forth by medieval ideals and makes a contract for knowledge and power.

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