Renaissance in England was a period of pomp, show and glitter, marked with growing sense of beauty and an increasing enrichment of life made through adventures, bravery and excess. The English period of Renaissance led to the breaking of the medieval knowledge and philosophy, infusing a new spirit of freedom, introducing a note of patriotism and national glorification, and also accompanying a revolt against the authority of the Pope. It was an age keeping pace with the bold adventures of men discovering new lands, and full of the work of scientists like Copernicus who had revealed man's true place and significance in the scheme of things. .
Renaissance culture set high value on the obtainment of knowledge and Renaissance Humanism assumed that human beings had the capability to use knowledge wisely. Although scholarship thrived, the literature of the period exposed the flaws of human nature and frailty that may accompany the acquisition of knowledge. The play 'The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus' by Christopher Marlowe demonstrates what knowledge can do to those who misunderstand or abuse it. Although the drama's prologue suggests Doctor Faustus was condemned to Hell because of his desire to know and excel, he was instead damned because he had turned away from true knowledge and wisdom to false knowledge and foolishness. Despite being given the power to attain all knowledge known to man and the universe, Doctor Faustus' downfall came at his inability to turn this vast knowledge into wisdom. .
In Doctor Faustus Marlowe has vividly drawn up the character of an intelligent, learned man tragically seduced by the lure of power greater than he was mortally meant to have. The character of Doctor Faustus is, in conception, an ideal of humanism, but Marlowe has taken him and shown him to be damned nonetheless, thus satirizing the ideals of Renaissance Humanism.
Renaissance humanism is a collection of intellectual Greek and Roman teachings, undertaken by scholars, writers and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists.