Similarities Between Marlowe's Play And Doctor Faustus

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Both the Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Play and Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus confront the place of the working class and their interests in society during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, respectively. While the interests and attitudes of the working class shifted in accordance with the greater societal changes in the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, their lower economic and social status stayed relatively the same. By comparing the actions of Marlowe’s working class characters to the poor shepherds of the Wakefield cycle in similar situations, one is able to see their differences in ideals and values, as well as their similarities in social status and exploitation.
Firstly, in comparison, the working-class counterparts
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While Robin is willing to sacrifice himself simply for food, Faustus does so in order to satisfy his pride and desires, and while Mak risks his life for a fat sheep, the lords of the Shepherds can exploit and steal from them consistently with no consequence. While the working class characters of Second Shepherds’ Play and Doctor Faustus are very similar in their status of social exploitation, they contrast in many respects. In the colloquial speech of the shepherds in the Second Shepherds’ Play, many Latin phrases are inserted, primarily of religious nature. Mak, a very poor man, says on page 111, “From my top to my toe / In manus tuas commendo, / Pontio Pilato!”. In addition, Coll, another shepherd, says “Resurrex a mortuis! Have hold my hand! / Judas carnis dominus! I may not well stand”, on page 114. In contrast, in Doctor Faustus, after stealing Faustus’ conjuring book, Robin struggles to read the Latin from the book and stumbles through it, with Dick acknowledging that neither of them are able to read it: Robin: (Reading) A per se--a; t, h, e--the; o per se--o; deny orgon--gorgon. Keep further from me, O thou illiterate and unlearned
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