Characteristics of Dr. Faustus

Discussion about the Characteristics of Dr. Faustus 

Doctor Faustus is a great play of Christopher Marlowe. In this play Doctor Faustus is the main character and he plays an important role to modify the play. In the last scene of this play the tragic death of Faustus makes the audiences more hopeless and much sad.

 The characteristics of Doctor Faustus:

The inexhaustible (unlimited) thirst of Faustus for knowledge, his worship of beauty, his passion (excitement, craze) for the classics (standard),

his interest in sorcery and magic, his admiration (respect) for super human ambition prove the author to be a man of Renaissance (new start, revival, rebirth). 


In the very beginning scene of this play Faustus appears as a man of the revival, rejecting the traditional subjects of study, he turns to magic and thinks after acquiring the magic he can put his magic skill. He considered the “world of profit and delight, power, honor and all-powerfulness” which he hopes to enjoy as a magician; he shows his passionate or enthusiastic curiosity, his desire for wealth and luxury, his nationalism and his longing for power. These were exactly the qualities of the rebirth, which was the age of discovery. He desires gold from the East India, pearls from the depths of the sea, pleasant fruits from America.


The character of Faustus is not one of fixed determination, as is so often asserted. His purpose keeps changing, sometimes he sounds immovable.


           “Had I as many souls as there be starts.

            I’d give them all for Mephistopheles” (Act I, Scene III)


When he is going to make decision to give his soul then he feels that it is no use thinking of God or heaven. He urges himself not to go backward, and to be resolute. But something sounds in his earns: “Reject this magic, turn to God to again”. After hearing this spiritual speech he almost decides to turn to God again but stops and says that God does not love him. This is a regular mental debate showing his hesitant mind. After this inner debate, the two Angels again appear and start representing two opposite points.


At the opening act II, Faustus for the first time tells himself to “despair” (hopeless). However, his determination and resolve are astonishing. He wanted to know about the existence of hell from Mephistopheles and when Mephistopheles tells him truthfully of hell, he simply refuses to face it.


In the middle of the scene-II of act II, there is the fourth and last conflict. This time Faustus goes further than before and calls upon Christ brings the three chief devils.


In the first part act-V, scene- III we see the humanity of Faustus. His emotional feelings are shown through the repetition of phrases: “What wonders I have done, all Germany can witness, yea, all the world; hell, ah, hell, forever!” He would like to weep but the devil dries up his tears. He would like to raise his hands, in prayer to God, but the devil holds his hands.


The greatness of the final speech of Faustus depends not only on its poetic power but also the subtle way in which it gathers up and focuses all the feelings of the earlier scenes.


Doctor Faustus’s Characters can be summed up in this way:


a. Extra-ordinary learning and scholarship

b. Imaginative faculty

c. A born poet

d. Pride and Self-conceit

e. Mental Conflict

f. Stopping to play all kinds of silly tricks and Foolish practical jokes

g. Expression of spiritual horror

h. A lover  

i. Over ambition


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