DR FAUSTUS As a Middle Ages or Renaissance Hero
!.?. !? MIDDLE AGES AND renaissance WORTHS IN DR. FAUSTUS Christopher Marlowe (baptized February 26, 1564– May30, 1593) was an English dramatist and poet who was well known for his magnificent blank verse and overreaching protagonists. Marlowe based his play Doctor Faustus on stories about a scholar and magician, Johann Faust, who supposedly offered his soul to the devil to get wonderful powers. The age in which Marlowe composed was an age of expedition, mission for knowledge, passion for life and advancement of science and innovation, the age of emerging renaissance, a period of political modification.
Above all, the age where the literature had actually shifted from being greatly religiously affected like the secret and morality plays of medievalism to works that focused more on the controversial topics of that specific time, for instance the struggle of power, the celebration of the totally free person and the clinical exploration of nature, the emerging renaissance ideals. In the medieval academy, faith was known as what the critics call”the queen of the sciences” whereas in Marlowe’s world of Renaissance, nonreligious matters had started to take the spotlight.
The lead character in most of Marlowe’s play is a renaissance male in pursuit of power or knowledge. For instance, Barabbas in the Jew of Malta, Tamburlaine in Tamburlaine the excellent and Faustus in Dr. Faustus. Marlovian scholars for many years have forecasted contrasting views of Dr. Faustus. Some assert that it is the story of a middle ages guy whose “aspirations and meddling satanic art are judged and condemned” according and import” to Christian doctrine.
Douglas Cole remarks that Doctor Faustus is “completely Christian in conception  where Faustus is himself accountable for his fall as he purposefully transgresses the religious limits by dedicating sin, does not repent and deals with eternal damnation which were the orthodox worths of the middle ages. Unlike the medieval times, in renaissanceindividual achievement, quest for understanding, and individual aspiration were the emerging values. Keeping that in mind, Other critics stress the humanism of the play, interpreting the character of Faustus as a “Promethean image representing the aspirations of the Renaissance”  and dr.
Faustus as a ” supreme archetype of renaissance guy”. Nevertheless, According to R. M Dawkins, Dr. Faustus is a “renaissance man who needed to pay the medieval cost to be one”. Dr. Faustus is neither strictly middle ages nor completely renaissance however a play that possesses both medieval and renaissance values at various points. In the opening scene of the play Dr. Faustus after having acquired the knowledge of medicine, faith and excellent skill in astronomy grows discontented with the limitations of this conventional knowledge.
This German scholar now desires reach beyond the legitimate boundaries and desires to look for the condemned art of necromancy when he states: “These metaphysics of magicians,/ And necromantic books are heavenly;/ Lines, circles, scenes, letters, and characters;/ Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires./ O, what a world of revenue and pleasure”(1. i). proving to be the “renaissance man” who defies the medieval belief of sticking to the restrictions set by Christian faith.
Faustus’ decision to check out the condemned is a characteristic of the renaissance humanists who believed in the emerging idea of individualism and clinical discoveries, an aspiration that the Renaissance spirit commemorated but that medieval Christianity denounced as an expression of sinful human pride. Likewise keeping in mind the medieval ideology, Man was put in a particular position by God and was expected to remain content with this postition in life. Faustus’ aspiration to go seek further understanding and his desire “Of power, of honor, and omnipotence” is likewise thought about as his pride as “omnipotence” is a characteristic entirely credited to God.
This act of pride for a medieval individual was a primary sin that constantly causes a man’s fall and damnation. Also the church preached that Lucifer’s fall was the result of his pride when he revolted against God, an idea also endorsed in Paradise Lost by John Milton. So the lines spoken by the chorus “” paradises conspired his topple” might be a reference to Lucifer and his rebellious effort to overpower God. Therefore, it could likewise be said that the chorus was making reference to Faustus trying to outsmart God just like Lucifer, being blinded by his pride.
This provides the stark contrast between the Medieval values and the renaissance ideals. The middle ages world positioned God at the center of existence and avoided all that was not Christian. Transgression and disobedience was a sin whereas the Renaissance was a re-birth of discovering in which people openly questioned divinity just like much more. Dr. Faustus in desiring to obtain limitless power aims the position of God which represents the renaissance element of a humanist working out the liberty of expression and opposing the Supreme authority as shown in these lines spoken by Faustus in his speech.
All things that move in between the peaceful poles/Shall be at my command: emperors and kings Are but obeyed in their several provinces;/ However his rule that goes beyond in this Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of guy; A sound magician is a demigod: Here tire, my brains, to acquire a divine being. The act or thought is unholy in itself and open disobedience against God’s word which is why it can be said that it’s the transgression of a medieval belief by a renaissance male. Disobedience to God was another cardinal sin in medieval world.
In the beginning of the prologue, the chorus provides a comparison in between Icarus and Faustus.” Till swoll ‘n with cunning, of self conceit,/ His waxen wings did mount above his reach/ And melting, paradises conspired his overthrow! “(Beginning. 19-21. ). The playwright here avoids to a greek myth in which Icarus’ father, made wings for both of them to fly from the island of Crete. However Icarus flew so near to the sun that the wax holding the plumes of his wings melted, and he fell into the sea and drowned.
The myth presents the well established middle ages moral– goal to cross borders results in damnation. Hence, through this allusion, The chorus makes it seem that Faustus is a “sinner” because he wants to look for the condemned knowledge. This provides the play to be based upon middle ages Christian spiritual worths. Marlowe, later on in his play presents 2 angels being Faustus’conscience and desires; the good angel and the bad angel. The Great Angel in the play represents the virtues, where as the Bad Angel represents the vices.
The Good Angel pulls Faustus towards acting righteously and not transgressing the specified limitations. The angel states: “O Faustus, lay that damned book aside/ And look not on it lest it lure thy soul/ And stack God’s heavy rage upon thy head!/ Read, checked out the Scriptures– that is blasphemy!” (1. 1. 67-69 ). This Angel is avoiding to Medieval suitables by stating that these books of magic are ‘damned’ and will bring ‘God’s heavy rage’ upon Faustus. ‘That is blasphemy’ is yet another recommendation to books not being of God. The Great Angel acts as Faustus’ crucial to salvation.
Whereas the Bad Angel tempts Faustus by telling him that ‘all nature’s treasure is included’ in his books. “Move forward Faustus, in that famous art/ Wherein all nature’s treasure is consisted of/ Lord and commander of these elements! “( 1. 1. 71-74 ). In addition, the Angel deceives Faustus that through this he might attain the position of a god, prompting his to make his own choice and pursue power which shows the renaissance suitables. Faustus is encountered by his conscience on one side and his strong desire to attain the forbidden knowledge on another.
This dispute in between his conscience and his desires is likewise a dispute in between the religious medieval worths with the individualism and questioning of belief system of the emerging renaissance. It could likewise be stated that Faustus represented the Renaissance male who lived in between two worlds. The world of medieval Christian where a set of guidelines were blindly followed which no longer existed for him. On the other hand, a world of scientific expedition and mission for greater knowledge along with power where he had actually not yet discovered the stability and security for his life. This signifies the “duality” in the society of Marlowe’s era.
In other words, Renaissance guy in Marlowe’s time might certainly have found himself suspended in between faith and reason, where half are pulled towards the exemplary medieval morals and the others towards liberated Renaissance ideals. Faustus ignores the warnings of the good angel and pays more heed in the red angel. He adheres to his never ending quest for understanding and makes the choice of his life. He chooses to offer his soul to Lucifer in return for twenty 4 years of outright power. Thus, Faustus welcomes his Renaissance persona by not just making however acknowledging his life options.
Morality plays were a tradition of the medieval period and were scarcely being written in the elizebathan era. A particular feature of these plays was that the characters were personified abstractions of virtue and vices which is also there in Dr. Faustus. The Great and Evil angels, one leading to salvation and the other to damnation. Then the old man appearing, telling Faustus that he exists “To direct’ thy actions unto the lifestyle”and The 7 deadly sins present in a grand phenomenon to cheer up the despairing soul of Faustus.
All these could be viewed as allegorical abstractions of virtue and vice respectively, a characteristic feature not of renaissance however of the middle ages literature. Another important aspect of these plays was they were didactic in nature and often ended with a specific ethical:”Whosoever disposes of the path of virtue and faith in God and Christ is destined to anguish and eternal damnation”. In dr. Faustus towards completion of the play when the last hour techniques Faustus on the brink of his everlasting damnation sobs out in misery: “My God, my God, look not so intense to me! also the chorus in the play regrets the terrible downfall of ‘the branch that might have grown full directly’, who is penalized for reaching beyond that which ‘incredible power permits’. Through this, Marlowe endorses the medieval idea of not crossing spiritual boundaries and reverence to the supreme divine being and gives the lesson that he who desires to be God, is doomed to everlasting damnation which highlights the medieval aspect of the play yet once again. Lots of critics keeping these ideas in mind have actually called Dr. Faustus a morality play. According to Stephen Hudson “No finer preaching than Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus ever came from the pulpit. “
After acquiring the worldly understanding Faustus compares himself with the most discovered of the middle ages authorities like Aristotle, Galen and Justinian. He feels that he has actually obtained all their knowledge that was possible through human tools and wishes to move outside the realm of nature, to set out on his own. This Thirst for more knowledge was a secular spirit of the dawning modern era, the agitated spirit of the renaissance. The underlying purpose of Faustus to acquire absolute knowledge is really his association of it with the desire for physical satisfaction which is evident from his yearning for the lovely Helen of Troy.
He thinks that this understanding will not only get him power but is also a possibility to satisfy his physical, sensual desires. For this function he asks Mephistopheles for an exceptionally gorgeous German maid as a spouse which gives us Faustus’ insight into the working of his mind. Faustus’ affection for charm when he admire Helen’s by stating Was this the face that introduced a thousand ships/ And burnt the topless towers of Ilium and desire for physical satisfaction appears from his yearning for Helen and kissing her.
This is a symptom of the renaissance spirit of love and the respect to classical beauty. Faustus is offered with lots of possibilities to repent. At some instances he attempts to repent however is either talked out of it or simply selects otherwise. As s result He does not repent and chooses to accept and hold onto what he has done with his life and follows his Renaissance persona. Towards the end of the play when the assured years of power and glory come to an end Faustus fears his everlasting damnation and appears to feel remoarse and turn back but then it is too late to fret.
This this axample it might be said that he was a renaissance man but did not totally refute the orthodox Christian worths. Marilyn Michaud in her crucial study of the play remarks that Renaissance man would have felt sorry for Faustus but would have concurred that he went too far. The desire for brand-new, useful understanding, and the desire for riches and appeal did not consist of the total rejection of salvation and heaven. Orthodox Christianity still prevailed. Faustus threatened both social and religious structures; although he seemed to want to repent, he had passed the moment of truth.
In another place during his conversation with an arch devil, Faustus refutes the existence of heaven and hell and regardless of the numerous cautions offered to him about the heinousness of hell, he still follows the path of damnation. This clashes with the idea of the remains of medieval beliefs in Faustus and portrays Faustus as a nonreligious Renaissance man, contemptuous of conventional middle ages faith. Paradoxically, Faustus is being scornful of the orthodox tradition calling hell a “myth” while he is speaking with Lucifer the Devil who has actually originated from Hell.
In among the final scenes of the play, while Faustus is lavishing Helen with applauds, asks her to suck the soul out of him. “Sucking the soul out” is an attribute only connected with God. Therefore, when Faustus asks Helen to do so, he is dedicating blasphemy yet again which is one of the dominating features of the age of renaissance. In the final lines of the play, Marlowe through chorus reveals us Faustus’ terrible end. Marlowe here acts as a protector of the recognized religious (medieval) worths, and is cautioning us of the horrific effects that Faustus had to face as a consequence of Turning down God and committing blasphemy throughout the play.
Through Faustus’ example it might be said that the playwright is showing his audience the awful fate that awaits the Renaissance male who rejects God and struggles for power. On the contrary by investing Faustus with such tragic grandeur, According to some critics, Marlowe might be suggesting a different lesson. Maybe the price of rejecting God deserves it, or maybe Faustus pays the rate for all of western culture, enabling it to go into a new, more secular age  Hence, Dr.
Faustus was written by a renaissance man in an era that was breaking away from conventions of medievalism and consists of the worths of middle ages as well as the emerging renaissance. Faustus is neither completely a morality play nor strictly renaissance in nature but it could be appropriately stated that Marlowe’s hero, Dr. Faustus, is the quintessential Renaissance man; a lover of knowledge, charm, and power, running in a society that had not yet released its grip on the middle ages contempt for the world.