Docter Faustus Essay

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The truth that ambition and desire for material objects does not always satisfy the soul is a major theme depicted in Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. The poem on page 93, lines 96-113 is the essence of this theme. It describes Faustus meeting, what he believes, is the icon of perfection. This perfection is a mere human women, yet, to Faustus, she is worth his life. Marlowe’s use of syntax and diction, allusions and references, and other literary devices throughout this monologue give support to the theme while adding rich symbolic images.

	The first example of diction in the monologue is the use of the saying, "the face that launched a thousand ships" (l. 96). This is a commonly applied expression when
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Faustus compares himself to Paris, saying he would allow his native land to crumble as Troy did in the story of the Iliad. His mentions of Menelaus and Achilles are as competitors in war. He says he will, "combat with weak Menelaus" (l. 105), and "will wound Achilles in the heel" (l. 107). These references may make Faustus appear strong, but in fact, they prove his weakness. First, he describes Menelaus as weak, substantiating that Faustus wouldn’t have to be strong to overpower him. Subsequently he admits that he would wound Achilles in his heel. It is noted that Achilles’ heel was the most fragile area of his body. This, too, confirms Faustus’ weakness. He couldn’t fight a fair battle and win, so he fought weak and helpless characters. This is symbolic of the state Faustus is in. Faustus could not fight Lucifer and win. Lucifer was not weak like Menelaus and did not have a fatal weakness like Achilles. Therefore, Faustus lost this battle, and in turn, lost his soul. The references to Jupiter, Semele and Arethusa deal with the metamorphosis that has been apparent throughout the play. While Faustus has made his own transformation from the beginning to the end of the story, so too have the characters he describes. Jupiter’s transformation was into some inconceivable being which Semele requested to see. In his transformation, Jupiter killed Semele as she became incinerated at his sight. Comparable to this myth, Faustus was the
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