Christopher Marlowe Protests: The Moral of Doctor Faustus Essay

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When Doctor Faustus was written, there was turmoil in Elizabethan society. The old medieval view made God the most important aspect of the world, while mankind and the natural world were ignored. This was giving way to the idea that mankind and the natural world were supreme. At first glance, it seems that Doctor Faustus was written with the medieval ideal in mind, however, I believe this is not so. I believe that Marlowe subscribed to the renaissance view of the world, and Doctor Faustus was intended to express Marlowe’s outrage at the consequences of seeking knowledge or thinking differently during the Elizabethan era. Marlowe rejects all previous authority just as Faustus does, and with them, Faustus rejects the ideals of the previous…show more content…
He also chooses new over old when he rejects the old man’s pleas. The old man represents the old ways and despite knowing that the old man has good intentions, Faustus rejects all authorities. Faustus tells himself “Now go not backward. Faustus be resolute” (II.i.6) before summoning Mephistopheles for the second time. The quotations shows Faustus’s obsessive urge to go forward, no matter the consequences. Incidentally Faustus is from Wittenberg, the birth place of the protestant revolution which rejected the previous religious authority. Faustus may be a way for Marlowe to reject his own authorities and the restrictions imposed by them. Marlowe was so enraged by the authorities and orthodox people that he drew parallels between them and the devils. During Faustus’s first encounter with Mephistopheles, the demon warns him not to seek forbidden knowledge, and mainstream society does the same. Later the devils tempt Faustus with physical pleasures that come with the knowledge, for example, after Faustus’s resolve is shattered when he sees “Homo, Fuge”(II.i.71) written on his arm, the devils tempt him with crowns and riches. Society also offers material gain as a reward for dishonourable behaviour (then, now and forever). At the end of the play, the devils are the ones who punish Faustus for seeking forbidden knowledge, despite tempting him in the first place. Parallels between the devils and
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