A Divided Self: The Many Facets of Faustus

2074 WordsJun 18, 20189 Pages
Having attained all that he desires from the knowledge of man, Marlowe’s character Faustus turns to the only remaining school of thought that he feels he must master which is the art of necromancy. In his pursuits, he manages to summon the devil Mephistopheles, arch demon of hell, and strikes a deal to trade his immortal soul with Lucifer in exchange for being granted an infinite amount of power and knowledge that extends even beyond the limits of human understanding. However in the process of negotiating the terms of his pact, it becomes clear that Faust is in a constant state of uncertainty in terms of whether he should repent and forsake the arrangement or simply go through with it. This underlying theme of internal struggle is…show more content…
While illustrating the division that exists within him as a character Marlowe is also commenting on the nature of sin and redemption through Faust, who chooses to exercise his free will by giving up his eternal soul in pursuit of earthly gain. In traditional Christian theology this is considered to be an ultimate and unforgiveable sin. Despite this fact, it is clear that Faust is still capable of repenting to God to save his soul, which conveys to the reader the essential Christian teaching that no matter how terrible the sin, it is still possible to gain forgiveness. The tragedy lies in that Faust looks for his salvation in every direction besides that which would actually save him. In the play’s beginning he condemns religious authority and transcendence in favor of his pursuits of magic. Yet in the later acts when he is at last coming to terms with the foolish nature of his pact he summons the figure of Helen, seeking transcendence and heavenly grace through her instead of God stating, “Come Helen, come, give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips, and all is dross that is not Helena!” (12.85-87). His failure to realize that repentance is his only

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