Defying Religion: Dr. Faustus, a coded play encouraging readers to flout medieval authority and think on their own. One of the basic unofficial guidelines of the medieval period was to regard and follow the guidelines of the church. To resent higher-powers and the beliefs they bestowed upon others was disciplinary. With extremely high risk of charge, Christopher Marlowe intentionally displayed thoughts of atheism and discreetly encouraged his audience to question authority through the script of Dr. Faustus.
His own opinions towards authority were shown by the representation of his thoughts through Faustus’ actions as well the ridicule of the church and by acquiring the audience’s sympathy. These 3 things combined supply encouragement for those in the audience that might have believed as Marlowe did. To begin with, Marlowe depicted his own ideas and sensations through Faustus in order to promote bitterness towards authority. This is very first proven by Faustus’ disregard for Heaven or Hell. For example, whilst considering where hell may be, Faustus candidly confesses that he does not believe in it. Come, I think hell’s a myth” (22) he says to Mephistophilis, starting to expose an atheist agenda. By not believing in such an essential part of the Catholic religion, Faustus is opening a door of new ideas and viewpoints to the audience. Next, Faustus neglects authority himself. For instance, when provided recommendations by the good angel, Faustus concerns ‘How am I glutted with conceit of this!” (5 ), convinced that he is doing no wrong by selecting black magic. He disregards authority, and continues to fulfill his selfish needs.
The good angel, sign of God and greater power, would be respected and listened to by any other however is overlooked by Faustus, additional promoting bitterness towards authority to the audience. Next, by continuously overlooking the good Angel’s desires, Faustus suggests that he does not believe that God will forgive him for his sins. For example, He contemplates that his “Heart’s so solidified he can not repent” (25 ), and uses that as a factor to not repent and be forgiven. His beliefs are that he has actually already gone too far to be pardoned.
By believing this, he is offering the audience factor to think that the angel, sign of greater power, might be incorrect in thinking that God will forgive him. To depict such viewpoints in a play, the author, Christopher Marlowe, must have reviewed the matter himself, in fact, some might concur that Faustus is merely an image of Marlowe. There are a number of factors that would make this a possible theory. For example, both males have similar backgrounds: They came from bad households, and were lucky enough to acquire a complete scholarship to university.
The truth that Marlowe was a known atheist makes it obvious that his own reflections were subtly concealed in the play to encourage the audience to flout authority. Second of all, in the play Dr. Faustus, Christopher Marlowe teases the faith our company believe in order to encourage his audience to disregard authority. This is first seen whilst deciding a career course. Faustus concludes that what he does not matter since he is not liable for his own actions. He says: We need to sin therefore consequently pass away. Ay, we should die an everlasting death.
What doctrine you call this, Che sera … (4) By pricing quote “Che sera sera” (4) he is implying that struck fate has already been pre-determined, consequently his option of studies does not matter: None of his options do. Whether he desires to study black magic or theology, God has currently chosen if he’s going to heaven or hell. Faustus is teasing the faith we are expected to believe in. The support of questioning authority is shown a 2nd time through the tomfoolery of authority itself. For instance, Faustus tricks the Pope, making him think about that there might be an evil spirit present.
Even after being provided “fair caution”( 33) by Faustus, the Pope continues crossing himself, but has no luck of it having any positive result on the scenario: ‘Faustus hits him a box of the ear; and they all escape’ (33 ). Marlowe continues to tease the Christian religious beliefs by portraying the pope as silly, and easily mislead. He was not only shown to be credulous, however his religious techniques likewise. Crossing himself is validated not to work, therefor revealing the audience the flaws to their beliefs.
Lastly, the catholic religious beliefs is tower above due to some comical witticisms in the play. For example, this is seen when Dr. Faustus first sees Mephistophilis and claims that he is too horrible to look at: I charge thee to return and alter thy shape; Thou art too unsightly to attend on me. Go, and return an old Franciscan friar; That holy shape becomes a devil best. (12) Marlowe compares a catholic male to the ugly face of a devil. Although he is stating that it would be an enhancement, he likewise recommends that the 2 are not that far off from each other.
By associating the 2, Marlowe is encouraging the viewers to mock the Catholic religion and disrespect it. Regardless of the ethical messages, Marlowe’s popular play clearly encourages its audience to question authority by promoting an atheist program. Finally, Marlowe attempts to attract the audience by getting their compassion. This is endeavored in the last scene, when the chorus expresses that sending Faustus to hell was an error: “Cut is the branch that may have grown full straight … whose fiendful fortune might exhort the smart, only to doubt unlawful things …” (56 ).
The chorus makes the audience consider what Faustus might have been and what he may have accomplished if he were not sentenced to punishment, consequently getting compassion. The audience is likewise forced to consider what type of God would penalize a male, only for wanting understanding. This is revealed throughout the final scene, when Faustus goes to hell, even after it appears that he is regretful: Though my heart pants and quivers to bear in mind that I have actually been a student here these thirty years, oh, would I had actually never seen Wittenberg, never read a book! 53) This convinces us to question the ethical outlook on the scenario, and wonder why desiring knowledge is so sinful. Like Adam and Eve, Faust’s punishment was too serious for the misconduct. Faustus clearly comprehended that what he did was wrong, and comprehended the effects, but still was not saved by God. Last but not least, we pity Faustus due to the fact that the only factor he did not repent was because of the truth that he did not think God would accept him.
For example, while speaking with the scholars, he accepts his punishment and admits that he believes it’s the only alternative: “But Faustus’ offenses can never be pardoned” (53 ). Presuming that the good angel was right, God, who forgives sins, would understand that Faustus was doubtful, hence use to save him and not endure a life in Hell. It is clear that Christopher Marlowe as able to make the audience pity Faustus, and for that reason question authority. Reducing faith and power was roughly frowned upon in the 1500’s, and was punishable by death.
Christopher Marlowe however successfully produced a play, which motivated its audience to both flout and concern authority. He translated a variation of himself as the character of Faustus also made fun of faith and appealed to the audience’s sympathy in order to get his point throughout. It is evident that Christopher Marlowe’s initial goal was to drop subtle hints in his play in order to influence his audience to contravene greater power. Works Cited Marlowe, Christopher. Dr. Faustus. 1604. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1994. Print.