Dr. Faustus

Examines Christopher Marlowe’s play Dr. Faustus and the main character’s relationship with the angel and devil within himself.

Analysis of the play focusing on the character of the old man, and scholars in Dr. Faustus, and how they can be compared to saints and holy figures. Looks at the themes of redemption, eternal life and instant gratification and how these are connected to the character of Dr Faustus.
“In Christopher Marlowe’s play Dr. Faustus, the reader or viewer is treated to a strange sight early on in the play. The central character, the scholar Dr. Faustus, is subjected to the cartoon-like debate of two characters upon his shoulders, that of a good angel and a bad angel. The good angel states that it is never too late if Faustus will repent. The angel means if the Doctor repents of his evil decision to turn from God and make a deal with the devil for conjuring powers, he can still be saved. (2.1.82) However, the bad angel on Dr. Faustus’ shoulder soon responds that it is too late, “If thou repent devils will tear thee in pieces.” (2.1.83-83) This debate highlights the very clear dichotomy between good and evil set up quite early on in the moral economy of the play. However, as the play progresses these highly schematic characters begin to retreat in their importance, and instead the characters of the scholars of Wittenberg where Dr. Faustus dwells and a mysterious old man becomes more prominent in Faustus’ conscience. Marlowe does not do this to make the drama seem either more realistic, as the language Dr. Faustus is quite heightened and surreal. Nor does the author do this to make the representations of good and evil seem more human, as most of even the human characters in the play are quite broadly drawn. Rather, Marlowe does this to suggest the nature of Dr. Faustus’ dilemma.”