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Dr Faustus – Use of Language


Dr Faustus– Usage of Language

Check out the list below passage from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Talk about Marlowe’s usage of language in this passage and how it contributes to the characterisation of Faustus. (Act 5, Scene 2) Composed in blank verse iambic pentameter; non-rhyming lines of 10 stressed syllables, Marlowe’s Physician Faustus is a morality play, a warning of what befalls those that deal with the devil. Faustus is introduced by the Chorus, a man who through scholarly pursuit has achieved much despite his training; yet through his unbridled pride he will soon set out on a path of damage.

He is metaphorically compared to Icarus who flying on wings of feathers and wax plunged to his death when flying too close to the sun, his wax melted. This portrays Faustus as over-reaching; having aspirations beyond those humanly possible, he dreams of accomplishing deity-hood ‘a mighty god’ (1. 1. 64) through the research study of necromancy even at the expense of his soul. With this power Faustus will ‘make spirits bring’, ‘fix … all ambiguities’, ‘perform what … business I will’ (1. 1. 1-83); he desires control, commanding the spirit-world, all questions responded to, every desire fulfilled, Faustus thirst will be sated. The wicked angel guarantees he will be as god in the world ‘be thou in the world as Jove is in the sky’ and ‘lord and commander of these aspects’ (1. 1. 78-79). Faustus’ character is that of a self-centered, big-headed, egotistical, extremely enthusiastic man, disappointed with his lot he looks for to fill his pressing lust for power by naively gifting his everlasting soul for what he thinks is supreme power. This is in plain contrast to Faustus in his last hour.

Gone is leader of kings, ruler of lands rather we discover a pitiful miscreant, regreting the fate that awaits him, pleading, desperate and imploring aid from any place it may be found. Spoken in the 3rd person, Faustus makes useless attempts to lengthen his life. ‘One bare hour’ (5. 2. 67) provides an impression of finality, monosyllabic each word seems like minutes passing; this is duplicated again in lines 76 and 77. The repetition of ‘perpetually’ (5. 2. 68) and ‘perpetual’ (5. 2. 72) emphasize Faustus horror at his eternity of torture.

More repeating ‘rise, rise once again’ as he beseeches the sun to eradicate the night; the tone begging; he advocates this hour to be ‘a year, a month, a week, a day’ (5. 2. 73) he will take any extension to his life, but given the time he is still without conviction ‘Faustus might repent’ (5. 2. 74). His pleading for time to cease stops working and there is resignation of his fate ‘Faustus should be damned’ he entreats God ‘yet will I contact him’ but lacks self belief in his repentance asking forgiveness to Lucifer for considering it.

Having actually pleaded to time, the paradises, and God, Faustus demands help from the aspects he was assured command of. He beseeches them to hide him from the ‘heavy wrath of God’ (5. 2. 86) and provide him to security ‘my soul might but rise to heaven’. Faustus fall is significant from prospective divine being ‘Faustus, attempt thy brains to gain a divine being’ to lowly monster ‘I be changed unto some brutish monster’ (5. 2. 109-110) such is the result of sin.

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