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the struggles of dr. faustus

             The protagonist Faustus, in Christopher Marlowe’s play, Dr. Faustus, is perceived to be one of the most unsettled characters in English literature. Faustus’ incessant wavering between good and evil, which is displayed predominantly throughout the play, is largely manifested both physically and mentally in Act II Scene 1. This particular scene is characterized by numerous emotions, such as mystification and inquisitiveness on Faustus’ part and anxiety and eagerness for the reader. These sentiments are developed for the most part because this scene is the defining moment in which Faustus, although clearly distraught over the decision of whether or not to turn to evil, finally chooses to sign his soul away to Lucifer in return for the necromantic knowledge he has so desperately sought. Overall, this scene shows that Faustus lacks inner strength; both through his blind pursuit of knowledge, and his inability to devote himself completely to good or evil. This inability to decide between damnation and repentance has resulted in a battle within Faustus’ conscious and subconscious mind that ceases to diminish throughout the scene.
             Consciously, Faustus tries to convince himself that knowledge, honour and wealth are far more important than contrition, prayer and repentance. This is evident near the beginning of the scene when, in response to the good angel’s plea that Faustus turn to God, the evil angel pronounces; “No Faustus, think of honour and of wealth.”# . Faustus is visibly animated in his response; “Of wealth? Why, the signory of Emden shall be .
             mine!” (Act II scene 1 22-23). In essence, he blindly follows the evil angel and Mephastophilis, a devil that Faustus summons from hell, because they provide instant gratification and results. Given that the conscious mind of Faustus is impatient, arrogant and overconfident, it makes sense that he would choose to take the easiest path available.