Dr Faustus Analysis

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The early medieval vernacular plays Everyman and The Castle of Perseverance, both written by anonymous authors, as well as Christopher Marlowe’s early Renaissance play Dr. Faustus are examples of morality plays. The dramatic tradition of the morality play flourished in late Medieval England. While other theatrical genres established around this time focussed on comic relief and spectacle, these morality plays often dealt with matters such as human predicament and the struggle of human vices and virtues (Potter, 6). The morality play typically features allegory and personification of these vices and virtues, as well as the common theme of man’s journey through life and toward death. (Knoell, 6) In Medieval and early Renaissance theatre, as…show more content…
As Robert Potter describes the moral nature of Morality plays, “sin is inevitable; repentance is always possible.”(16) In Dr. Faustus, Faustus sins by selling his soul to the Devil, and using the demon Mephistopheles’s black magic to gain knowledge, fame and wealth. Throughout the play Faustus is made aware of his impending doom in the figures of a Good Angel and a Bad Angel, giving him guidance and advice from both the sinner’s perspective as from the saint’s. Faustus repeatedly considers repenting, but never does. Only as his life is ending and he is dragged into the mouth of Hell by demons, including Mephistopheles, he realises that repentance might have saved him, but it is too late. The audience of the play is offered a tempting view of what sin can bring; fame, popularity and riches, but they are also confronted with what happens to those who corrupt their soul and refuse to repent. In Everyman, Everyman is approached by Death who tells him to “take a long journay” to God. Death also tells him to bring an account of all his good and bad deeds, which will be used for God’s judgement of him. Everyman, shocked by this message, turns to his earthly friends Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin and Goods, and begs them to accompany him. All of his earthly friends first promise their loyalty to Everyman, but as soon as they realise the permanence of the journey, they abandon him. (Paulson, 122)…show more content…
Faustus leaves the audience with a clear message about what to do to earn a place in Heaven. In Dr Faustus¸ humanity is supposed to keep in line with the doctrine of the Church, and not to occupy themselves with any secular sciences. This message differs from the ones in Everyman and The Castle of Perseverance, as it is not a moral instruction, guiding the audience in the right direction, but a warning to not step out of line. Despite this difference, the message in Dr. Faustus and the moral instructions in Everyman and The Castle of Perseverance have the same aim, namely to convince people to live a virtuous
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