Dr. Faustus Tragic Hero Essay

Certain aspects of the drama can be used to support an interpretation of Faustus as a Renaissance hero and other aspects suggest he is a medieval hero.According to the medieval view of the universe, Man was placed in his position by God and should remain content with his station in life.Ironically his ego doesn’t let him see his own pride and mistakes, he attempts to commit the sins during the play, for instance greed for unattainable powers, wrath towards Benvolio when he made horns appear on his head, and his lust towards Helen in the end that he chose instead of repenting when given the last chance.

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Faustus then learns at the end of the play that supernatural powers are reserved for the gods and that the person who attempts to handle or deal in magical powers must face eternal damnation.

When we examine the drama from this standpoint, Faustus deserves his punishment; then the play is not so much a tragedy as it is a morality play.

The ending is an act of justice, when the man who has transgressed against the natural laws of the universe is justifiably punished.

The chorus at the end of the drama re-emphasizes this position when it admonishes the audience to learn from Faustus' damnation and not attempt to go beyond the restrictions placed on humanity.

The character of Faustus can also be interpreted from the Renaissance point of view.

At the time of this play, there was a conflict in many people's minds, including Marlowe's, as to whether or not to accept the medieval or the Renaissance view.

According to the Renaissance view, Faustus rebels against the limitations of medieval knowledge and the restriction put upon humankind decreeing that he must accept his place in the universe without challenging it.

Because of his universal desire for enlightenment, Faustus makes a contract for knowledge and power.

to convey the message of a tragic downfall by excessive pride and overreaching one’s goal. Faustus is an example of a doomed fool and not a tragic hero as he fails to evoke emotional response with the readers because of his absurd actions giving up to evil and initially reading only selective biblical verses that shaped his understanding of theology and failure to repent when given many chances even after selling his soul to Lucifer.

In this essay, I will explore elements of Icarus, the Seven Deadly Sins particularly pride, the old man, and bible shown throughout the Marlowe’s play to discuss their significance to Faustus’s pride which is his flaw and what meaning does it add to the overall narrative.


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