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Religion in Doctor Faustus

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adam jacques

on 23 March 2011

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Transcript of Religion in Doctor Faustus

Religion in Doctor Faustus Elizibethan Audience Anti-Catholic literature was hugely popular in Elizabethan times. The unnecessary pomp and ceremony of Catholic institutions was satirised,like in Act 3 Scene 1 when Faustus mock the Pope as was wider corruption within the Catholic Church. The power struggles within the Church and the Catholic nations, specifically the Holy Roman Empire, were a central force for European politics. The Greenwich Theatre production of Dr Faustus clearly demonstrates this as Faustus is staged in a way that tricks the pope into bowing down to him. In the Elizabethan age there was a strictly dichotomised attitude towards right and wrong, and the framework of Christian morality was one by which most people aimed to live: religion was of much more central importance than it is now. Abandoning God and turning to the path of sin would be seen as a shocking and unforgiveable crime, as would experimenting with black magic and forbidden knowledge. Elizabethan audiences would be more familiar with the concepts of sinful distraction and the soul-poisoning influences of the Seven Deadly Sins. Elizabethan audiences firmly believed in the Christian cosmology of angels and devils.

Context Marlowe's Atheism Marlowe was reputed to be an atheist, which at the time held the dangerous implication of being an enemy of God
The character of Dr. Faustus can perhaps be seen as a mouthpiece for Marlowe’s atheism. Faustus rejects just about all forms of institutionalized belief structures and close to our first meeting with him, he announces in one of the important quotations from "Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe, “Philosophy is odious and obscure, / Both law and physic are for petty wits, / Divinity is the best of the three.” (Scene 1, lines 107-109) Faustus is looking for something more substantial than academia, much as Marlowe himself was engaged with looking beyond academic religious pursuits. Christopher Marlowe can be seen as Marlowe “speaking” through Faustus, describing his denial of taking the religious life and instead, seeking something more (in his case, writing plays, in Faustus’ case, summoning the devil) Marlowe was arrested for being an atheist. Quotations The use of latin throughout the play "Jerome's bible, Faustus, new it well stupendium peccati mars est,' ha!"
'wilfully omit divine promises of salvation to those who truly repent their sins'
he translates the latin then laughs at it, he is not taking it seriously. 'Nothing so sweet as magic is to him' this is were magic becomes his religion 'All things that move between the quiet poles shall be at my command' he takes on the role of God denying him, making God seem weak and 'Nothing' Wagner- 'and so the lord bless you, preserve you, and keep you', Wagner mocks prayer and religion, using the words sarcastically and as if nothing will happen if you pray. Mephistopheles-' For when we hear one rack the name of God... we fly in hope to get his glorious soul' he says this as if it happens alot, and that Faustus may not be the only one that disregards religion (The Pope crosseth himself) Faustus- 'what, are you crossing of yourself',
slapstick comedy with the Pope falling over himself again shows how Marlowe doesn't take religion seriously. Critical Views The greatest controversies surrounding Doctor Faustus have turned on the question of orthodoxy: whether the play serves Protestant theology or subverts it. One school of critical thought holds that reformation theology provides dramatic unity in the play. Douglas Cole argues that Doctor Faustus is "thoroughly Christian in conception and import"; pointing out that Faustus sins knowingly, does not repent, and suffers eternal damnation--a plot that in no way challenges Christian doctrine. Wow.
Hope you enjoyed that, we truly are Prezi Gods! In the Greenwich Theatre Production they use staging to show that Mephistopheles and Lucifer are of a higher status than Faustus, who is 'but a man'. This is shown by Lucifer and Mephistopheles being positioned on the upper level of the stage.
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