Dr Faustus Explication

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In the play Doctor Faustus (by Christopher Marlowe) the title character is faced with the decision of either selling his soul to Lucifer for earthly riches or repenting and living in heaven forever. Faustus goes through many periods of indecision, yet none is more noticeable than in his quiet thoughts near the end of his life:

What are thou Faustus, but a man condemned to die?

Thy fatal time draws to a final end;

Despair doth drive distrust into my thoughts.

Confound these passions with quiet sleep.

Tush, Christ did call the thief upon the cross!

Then rest thee Faustus, quiet in conceit.

It is in these words that we, the audience, are allowed to see the true moral fiber of the lead character, Faustus. It is here that we find the different personas that compose the psychologically plagued man.

The first noticeable trait is Faustus' indecisive nature. He continually waivers between heaven and hell; the latter gives him immediate pleasure, and heaven inevitably loses in the end. At the top of the passage, Faustus apparently knows his fate, yet he internally persuades himself not to worry about the future. Thus, we see Faustus change his mind in a matter of seconds; this is the obvious indecisive trait that he demonstrates throughout the play. Noticeably, Faustus transforms from a man struggling with death to a man comfortable with the amount of time he has left to live. Furthermore, this extreme mannerism is necessary to the play, because the idea of his Ëśwavering' is an essential difference between Marlowe's Faustus and the first legends. Originally, Faustus was portrayed as an evil trickster who only wanted more power; yet, Marlowe gives his audience something more to hang on to and someone to identify with. The idea of Faustus being unsure of his decisions causes the audience to sympathize with him and in essence become more drawn into the play.

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