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Humanism in Doctor Faustus
Transcript of Humanism in Doctor Faustus
The Liminal can also be seen through how the character blurs the boundaries between the social classes by being able to move from low to fairly high class in his lifetime.
some aspects of the revenant are present from the way that Marlowe chooses to describe the past of the character Faustus providing some sense of mystery within the character. "To give me whatsoever I shall ask, To tell me whatsoever I demand, To slay mine enemies and aid my friends" (1,3 ) From this quote Marlowe has used irony to portray the use of imperatives by Faustus despite the character being the one asking for power. Within this scene Faustus has made the ultimate sacrifice of his soul in order to be able to raise to a higher status and using occult religious worship to do so. It is also obvious that the character uses the third person when talking and structures sentences in iambic pentameter which is suggestive of the corruptible unnatural speech that the high status characters share in the play. This therefore goes against humanism and presents religion as an underlying factor to position in society. Within this scene Gothic elements are used throughout.
The supernatural is used with the demon Mephostophilis appearing to Faustus along with figures such as the "dragon" which can be seen as representative of hell. Also, the clear presence of supernatrual powers can be seen through the vanishing and appearing of the figures, the appearance of floating by Lucifer and the dragon and the shock of thunder heard by the audience as the demon enters. Obscurity can also be seen in the previous scenes with Faustus with angels being conjured in Faustus' mind to represent the inner turmoil and mental confusion. Horror and abhuman elements can be seen from the grotesque deformed presentation of the demons appearing on stage and the fear that it creates within the audience. The sublime is also seen with the overwhelming of the forces around Faustus and the awareness that if hell exists then the opposition of Heaven and God must therefore also be present in the play. (directed to horse-courser) "Friend...for ten dollars more, take him" This quote from the beginning of scene 5 is able to present Faustus as being associated with people of the same stature as his original upbringing. Further to this the character even bargains for relatively small amounts of change and commits petty acts of evil despite the great knowledge and power he holds. This can be seen as Marlowe upholding the conventional hierarchy with the non-noble elements of his birth also being the cyclical features in his life. Using this viewpoint it is also possible to see that the eventual demise by the character is used by Marlowe as God reinforcing order within society. Although, despite this the audience are still able to see the use of power by Faustus to turn the horse into straw when the horse-courser rode over water. "The horse-courser a bundle of hay for his forty dollars" (4,5) The quote is able to present Faustus as powerful beyond his peers and able to manipulate nature with ease. Marlowe portrays the character from the start as being able to summon Lucifer and demons with his "conjuring speeches" (1,3) from knowledge researched by Faustus on his own and allows for the power behind science and man to be seen as more powerful than that of religion. The supernatural is seen through the use of Faustus' powers in transforming the horse into straw and from the removal of his leg.
otherness can be seen from the non human abilities that the character Faustus is able to do but also from the contract that the character in under that risks his humanity.