Discuss Marlowe's use of language in this passage and how it contributes to the characterisation of Faustus.
Christopher Marlowe's ability to write with great balance and creative use of poetry, imagery, and structure is shown in his morality play Dr Faustus. Marlowe’s use of language and structure shapes Dr Faustus character and in his final soliloquy focuses on creating a sense of desperation and regret. The variation in metre and rhythm clearly shows anguish and despair. At the beginning of the play Faustus’ focus was on having power and prestige. At the end his desperation is shown by moving from one thought to another hopeless thought in how he may repent himself and be saved.
During the final speech Marlowe’s clever use of rhythm marks the passing of time in Faustus’ final hour. This use of monosyllabic ...view middle of the document...
Through changing the rhythm again, Marlowe is able to shift the mood and the emotions that Faustus is experiencing. By using elongated words slows down the passing of time and Faustus’ fears change from the end to endless. The realisation dawns on Faustus and frightens him that initially what he feared was the end of his life. But in reality his is damnation in hell. His fate is now in front of him and he faces punishment for making his selfish deal with the devil in his search for greatness. He expresses his hopelessness and anger through violent and descriptive words such as “vomit” and “entrails”. The metre or rhythm becomes more passionate. In his final line, the simple words “Twill all past anon.” demonstrated his acceptance of his end and he has no fight left or ability to change his destiny. However with these final words, he still doesn't admit his own role in his fate.
Faustus shows his true character during this passage, demonstrating that despite his intellect and education he was swayed by temptation. The tone of this final speech echoes with regret that the greatness and knowledge he hoped to achieve with his deal with Lucifer never materialised. The arrogance that was once there has disappeared as he realises the price he is now paying for the trivial pleasures he enjoyed. In this final passage Christopher Marlowe demonstrates his talent through his use of language, imagery, and structure to depict the torture the main character Dr Faustus experiences as he faces his demise.
Pacheco, Anita (2008), Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, in Moohan, E. (ed.) Reputations (AA100 Book 1), Milton Keynes, The Open University, pp. 31 – 54)
Marlowe, Christopher, Doctor Faustus, 109 – 111; reprinted in AA100 Assignment Booklet (October 2008), Milton Keynes, The Open University, p.19
Marlowe, Christopher (A Text 1604, reprinted 2008), Doctor Faustus, Harlow, Pearson Education Limited