AD's English Literature : Design of Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus": Most Rewarding type of Scholarship!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Design of Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus": Most Rewarding type of Scholarship!!

The idea of an individual selling his or her soul to the devil for knowledge is an old motif in Christian folklore, one that had become attached to the historical persona of Johannes Faustus, a disreputable astrologer who lived in Germany sometime in the early 1500s. The immediate source of Marlowe’s play seems to be the anonymous German work Historia von Dr. Johan Fausten of 1587, which was translated into English in 1592, and from which Marlowe lifted the bulk of the plot for his drama. Although there had been literary representations of Faust prior to Marlowe’s play. Marlowe’s Dotor Faustus is the first famous version of the story. Later versions include the long and famous poem Faust by the nineteenth- century Romantic writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as well as operas by Charles Gounod and Arrigo Boito and a symphony by Hector Berlioz.


The protagonist Faustus is a brilliant sixteenth-century scholar from Wittenberg, Germany, grows dissatisfied with the limits of traditional forms of knowledge—logic, medicine, law, and religion—and decides that he wants to learn to practice magic. His friends Valdes and Cornelius instruct him in the black arts, and he begins his new career as a magician by summoning up Mephastophilis, a devil. Despite Mephastophilis’s warnings about the horrors of hell, Faustus tells the devil to return to his master, Lucifer, with an offer of Faustus’s soul in exchange for twenty-four years of semice from Mephastophilis, Meanwhile, Wagner, Faustus’s servant, has’picked up some magical ability and uses it to press a clown named Robin into his service.
Christopher Marlowe
Mephastophilis returns to Faustus with word that Lucifer has accepted Faustus’s offer. Faustus experiences some misgivings and wonders if he should repent and save his soul: in the end, though, he agrees to the deal, signing it with his blood. As soon as he does so, the words “Homo fuge,” Latin for “0 man, fly,” appear braced on his arm. Faustus again has second thoughts, but Mephastophilis bestows rich gifts on him and gives him a book of spells to learn. Later. Mephastophilis answers all of his questions about the nature of the world, refusing to answer only when Faustus asks him who made the universe. This refusal prompts yet another bout of misgivings in Faustus, but Mephastophilis and Lucifer bring in personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins to prance about in front of Faustus, and he is impressed enough to quiet his doubts.
Armed with his new powers and attended by Mephastophilis, Faustus begins to travel. He goes to the pope’s court in Rome, makes himself invisible, and plays a series of tricks. He disrupts the pope’s banquet by stealing food and boxing the pope’s ears. Following this incident, he travels through the courts of Europe, with his fame spreading as be goes. Eventually, he is invited to the court of the German emperor, Charles V (the enemy uf the pope), who asks Faustus to allow him to see Alexander the Great, the famed fourth-century hock Macedonian king and conqueror. Faustus conjures up an image of Alexander, and Charles is suitably impressed. A knight scoffs at Faustus’s powers, and Faustus chastises him by making antlers sprout from his head. Furious, the knight vows revenge.

As the twenty-four years of his deal with Lucifer come to a close, Faustus begins to dread his impending death. He has Mephastophilis call up Helen of Troy, the famous beauty from the ancient world, and uses her presence to impress a group of scholars. An old man urges Faustus to repent, but Faustus drives him away. Faustus summons Helen again and exclaims rapturously about her beauty. But time is growing short. Faustus tells the scholars about his pact, and they are horror-stricken and resolve to pray for him. On the final night before the expiration of the twenty-four years, Faustus -is overcome -by fear and remorse. He begs for mercy, but it is too late. At midnight, a host of devils appears and carries his soul off to hell. In the morning, the scholars find Faustus’s limbs and decide to hold a funeral for him.
 
In a long soliloquy, Faustus reflects on the most rewarding type of scholarship. He first considers logic, quoting the Greek philosopher Aristotle, but notes that disputing well seems to be the only goal of logic, and, since Faustus’s debating skills are already good, logic is not scholarly enough for him. He considers medicine, quoting the Greek physician Galen, and decides that medicine, with its possibility of achieving miraculous cures, is the most fruitful pursuit—yet he notes that he has achieved create renown as a doctor already and that this fame has not brought him, satisfaction. He considers law, quoting the Byzantine emperor Justinian, but dismisses law as too petty, dealing with trivial matters rather than larger ones. Divinity, the study of religion and theology, seems to offer wider vistas, but he quotes from St. Jerome’s Bible that all men sin and finds the Bible’s assertion that “the reward of sin is death” an unacceptable doctrine. He then dismisses religion and fixes his mind on magic which, when proper pursued, he believes will make him the mighty god”.

Ardhendu De

1 comment:

  1. sir, can u plz write a note on this topic: "Dr. Faustus is a play with no middle"

    ReplyDelete

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