The Role of God in Doctor Faustus.

An analysis of Christopher Marlowe’s play, Doctor Faustus.

This paper discusses the importance of God’s presence in the play in contrast with knowledge, which Faustus holds most dear. The characters of Faustus is examined and it shows that he is a conflicted character driven by greed and evil; while in exchange for power and knowledge, he sells his soul to Lucifer, the devil.
“Doctor Faustus is a person very knowledgeable in the subject of theology. He is no stranger to the word of God, nor Christian doctrine. Therefore, he cannot plead ignorance to be found not guilty of his sins. However, he finds the scriptures not to his liking. He says, “Jerome’s Bible, Faustus, view it well The reward of sin is death? That’s hard” (1.40). Though he knows the word of God, it does not touch his soul. He does not live by it. In Christian society, knowledge is not the ultimate goal. Someone can know all that there is to know about religion, but if he or she is not able to live it, then he or she is not holy. Faustus’ denial of God’s love and power stems from his knowledge of other subjects like black magic. In this text then, this God is one of attitude and action rather than of books and learning. Too logical a mind can consume a person to a dangerous religious point. With too much knowledge, Marlowe seems to be saying, one thinks that one is more powerful than even God. God is not opposed to knowledge itself though; rather the problem is knowledge without sentiment. Faustus holds an acquaintance with books and other such things, but he has no understanding of his own soul. Therefore, two apparitions appear to sway him in their favored direction.”