Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Marlowe’s character is depicted supposedly as the new Renaissance man, strong with Individualism, a quest for greater knowledge and a urge to grow to his full potential. Throughout the passage Faustus makes wordy and lofty speeches, suggesting his confidence in his power. Faustus appears to be not only a learned man, but one who is familiar with good and evil.
Mephistopheles, in his opening speech uses a similar style as Faustus but is more direct, forceful and straight forward setting out the realities of the situation and potential downfall of Faustus’s plans for his future.
On the darker side Marlowe depicts Faustus as being self absorbed, convinced of his only superior knowledge and abilities.
Faustus does not wish to glorify ...view middle of the document...
Even this does not stop Faustus longing for the knowledge and magic that Mephistopheles and Lucifer can give to him. Faustus believes that he is above this, that he knows best, that it will not happen to him, it ought to act as a warning for Faustus, who is also guilty of ‘aspiring pride and insolence”
To this end even when questioning Mephistopheles about Hell, Mephistopheles tries to warn him of what lies ahead in the sense of ‘beware of what you wish for’ Faustus ignores this. Does he not realise or does he not care? Is it Godly knowledge and power at any prices? No matter what the cost?
Mephistopheles at times is portrayed as very human, with his imaginative re-creation of Hell not simply as an external reality, but also as an inner torment. He scolds Faustus for his ‘frivolity’ and suggests that, although he himself is damned, his soul is still vulnerable to memories of the joys he once knew in heaven.
Faustus is clearly somewhat surprised by Mephistopheles’ speech and taunts him over his regret about his expulsion from heaven, boasting of his own courage and his ability to ignore the consequences. He believes that he Faustus may have something to teach a devil, but once again, he is ignoring the warning contained in Mephistopheles words.
With all of this in mind, if I were writing about the characterization of Faustus, I would describe him as an intelligent man who is familiar with the doctrine of the Church.He is obessed with the quest for ultimate power and what it can give him. Faustus is very arrogant, self absorbed not listening to any advice given to him, which of course is his downfall.
Reputations AA100 The Arts Past and Present Chaper 2 Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Audio CD AA100 The Arts Past and Present - Book 1 Reputations Faustus