preview

Dr Faustus as a Tragedy

Decent Essays
Q.1. Discuss Dr Faustus as a tragedy.
Tragedy – Definition
Aristotle defines a tragedy as a ‘representation of an action which is important, complete and limited in length. It is enacted not recited and by arousing pity and fear, it gives an outlet to emotions of this type.’
However, for the Elizabethans, more specifically for Marlowe and Shakespeare, tragedy is not a restrictive view of human excellence or weakness as the Greeks are often inclined to present but an affirmative view of human aspirations whose pursuit brings a glory to the definition of a man. Struggle, conflict, suffering and failure may be the inescapable attendants but the human spirit is not stifled in its pursuits by what attends to them. The ability to withstand
…show more content…
Divinity adieu:
These metaphysics of magicians,
And necromantic books are heavenly:

The Strength of theTragedy
The play is a human tragedy for not only is Faustus tragically constituted in his boundless ambitions but, at the same time, the play questions the effectiveness of the cultural aspirations that shape his ambitions. Consequently, the play provides a complex interaction between the human dimensions of the dramatic character and the ambiguities and ambivalences of the cultural situation the character is placed in.
Yet while the play seems to offer a very basic Christian message—that one should avoid temptation and sin, and repent if one cannot avoid temptation and sin—its conclusion can be interpreted as straying from orthodox Christianity in order to conform to the structure of tragedy.
In a traditional tragic play, as pioneered by the Greeks and imitated by William Shakespeare, a hero is brought low by an error or series of errors and realizes his or her mistake only when it is too late. In Christianity, though, as long as a person is alive, there is always the possibility of repentance—so if a tragic hero realizes his or her mistake, he or she may still be saved even at the last moment. But though Faustus, in the final, wrenching scene, comes to his senses and begs for a chance to repent, it is too
Get Access