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Power and Religion - Dr. Faustus

             Faustus"" by Christopher Marlowe, is a tragedy that depicts the inevitable fall of a man who sold his soul to the devil. Within the context of this play, the notions of power, good vs. evil, and Christian ideas of Heaven and Hell dominate the thoughts and words of Faustus. As the story unfolds, the audience views the gradual ruin of a man who was once well respected throughout Europe because of his utter lust for power and lack of Christian integrity. With multiple chances to save his soul presenting themselves throughout the play, Faustus is often conflicted on whether or not to continue down the course he has chosen. In the end, the play illustrates how Faustus was led to his own doom by his own hubris and because he chose power over religion.
             As Scene 1 opens, Faustus' opening soliloquy essentially announces to the world that all the worldly types of knowledge, including the study of religion and theology, are not worthy of Faustus' time. In his quest for power he chooses dark magic because he believes it will make him "a mighty god."" This is the first glaring example of Faustus' hubris due to his desires. As the angels of good and evil confer on his shoulders, Faustus chooses evil and the dark magic because it will bring him fame, power and glory. This decision leads to the first encounter with Mephastophilis, the devil who eventually serves Faustus. This meeting illustrates very clearly the length that Faustus is willing to go to achieve otherworldly power. His initial renunciation of God and all things holy marks the severity of the transgression he is about to commit. In his diologue with Mephastophilis, Faustus learns that Lucifer and all his devils were once angels who were cast out of heaven for rebelling. Mephistophilis continues by saying hell is not only the opposite place of heaven, but earth also constitutes hell due to the lack of God's presence in their (the devils, and soon to include Faustus) lives.

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