The Tragedy Of Doctor Faustus

1856 WordsDec 6, 20158 Pages
The story of Doctor Faustus is one of a man who is not great in the traditional, tragical sense but great of mind, an intellectual. Faustus makes a pact with the devil, mistaking Hell for Heaven and mistakenly believing himself to be reprobate. With this unholy pact Faustus chases after power but with each attempt he sinks lower and lower, eventually succumbing to base desire. Faustus ends his 24 years with an attempt to repent however he is dragged to Hell and the play then ends with a caution from the chorus. The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is an Elizabethan tragedy. This is because the protagonist in the play dies in a catastrophic manner that is not merely an accident, in Faustus’s case being dragged to Hell screaming. The second element of an Elizabethan tragedy is that protagonist must have a fatal flaw (hamartia) which is the cause of their death, Faustus demonstrates many of the 7 deadly sins, principally hubris, greed and sloth. Through the play, Marlowe also demonstrates the typical aim of an Aristotelian tragedy, Catharsis. Catharsis is ‘the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration’ . This is the effect that Marlowe presents at the end of the play, through the chorus the audience is meant to learn from the lesson of Faustus and be convinced in any conclusions that Marlowe has penned as to the central themes of the play. One
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