Faustus Revision etc.

Report
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?

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