Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB Q: Why does Marlowe deny Faustus salvation at the end of the play and what are the implications of this? Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB A number of points to consider: 1. Criticises Protestant views of salvation as a loving God should always have the capacity to forgive 2. Suggests Christ’s power is limited 3. Christ will not support all 4. Christ does not exist Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB Q: Is the play anti-religious, therefore, rather than just anti-Catholic? Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB A number of points to consider: 1. Marlowe studied at Wittenberg under (and alongside) Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism – perhaps the play is a sly dig at him. 2. The play clearly has an anti-Catholic bias Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB Q: Just how dangerous was the play at the time? Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB A number of points to consider: 1. 2. 3. Heresy was punishable by death. Being an atheist, or even agnostic, and having it publicly known would have led to death. It would have been highly objectionable for a play like this to exist – though Marlowe perhaps hides his own beliefs through the artifice of Dr Faustus Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB A number of points to consider: 4. Marlowe was also linked with being a Government spy, a homosexual, a taboobreaker etc. 5. A time of radical change – English-language bibles were unheard of at the start of the 16th C Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB Q: To what extent is Dr Faustus an embodiment of Marlowe himself? Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB A number of points to consider: 1. 2. Maybe – but be careful and offer two sides. Marlowe may have felt limited or stifled by Elizabethan society and therefore the character expresses his own desires to be free. However, would Marlowe be proud of such a negative representation? Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Revision for A2/IB Catholics Believed the Pope to be the head of the Christian Church. Believed the Pope was infallible (couldn’t be wrong). Elizabethan Protestants Believed that control of the Church rested with Royal power: the Queen ruled by the Grace of God (she still does – look at the inscription on a £1 coin) and so was in charge of God’s affairs in that country. Believed in Papal fallibility: there was no way the Pope, or any other man, could declare someone’s sins were forgiven, as no man knows what’s going on in God’s mind. Believed in Transubstantiation – that the bread and wine of the Mass literally turned into the body and blood of Christ in the mouth: you were literally eating Him. Believed in Consubstantiation – the Communion was celebrated in memory of Christ, and the Spirit was nearby but the actual bread and wine remained just that. Believed that your soul could be saved by doing ‘good works’ – everything good was weighed up against everything bad you did in life, and depending which way the balance fell you either went to Heaven, to Purgatory for a bit, or to Hell. Believed in Free Will – ever since the moment in Eden when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, humans have had the chance to make choices about their destiny. Believed that your soul could only be saved by faith (Sola Fide – by faith alone). Believed in some degree of Predestination; at the extreme, people argued that God (knowing everything, past present and future) already knew which souls would be saved, and people who thought they were in this group viewed themselves as the Elect, and that they could do no wrong as they were blessed by God. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe: Revision for A2/IB Now is he born, his parents base of stock, In Germany, within a town called Rhodes; Of riper years to Wittenberg he went, Whereas his kinsmen chiefly brought him up. So soon he profits in divinity, The fruitful plot of scholarism graced, That shortly he was graced with doctor's name. Is to dispute well logic's chiefest end? Affords this art no greater miracle? Then read no more, thou has attained the end. A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit. The end of physic is our body's health. Why Faustus, hast thou not attained that end? [...] Couldst thou make men to live eternally, Or, being dead, raise them to life again, Then this profession were to be esteemed. Physic farewell! Why then belike we must sin, And so consequently die. Ay, we must die an everlasting death. What doctrine call you this? Che sara, sara What will be, shall be! Divinity, adieu! These metaphysics of magicians, And necromantic books are heavenly! How am I glutted with conceit of this! Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please, Resolve me of all ambiguities, Perform what desperate enterprise I will? I'll have them fly to India for gold, Ransack the ocean for orient pearl, And search all corners of the new-found world For pleasant fruits and princely delicates. Philosophy is odious and obscure, Both law and physic are for petty wits; Divinity is basest of the three, Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile. ‘Tis magic, magic that hath ravished me. I am a servant to great Lucifer, And may not follow thee without his leave; No more than he commands must we perform. Had I as many souls as there be stars, I'd give them all for Mephastophilis. By him I'll be great emperor of the world. Now Faustus, must thou needs be damned, And canst thou not be saved. What boots it then to think of God or heaven? O I'll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down? See, see where Christ's blood streams in the firmament! One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah my Christ. Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight, And burned is Apollo's laurel bough, That sometime grew within this learned man. Regard his hellish fall, Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise Only to wonder at unlawful things: Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits To practice more than heavenly power permits. Q: “Dr Faustus, like many gothic texts, serves as a tribute to its protagonist rather than a condemnation.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?