The deeper meaning behind Christoper Marlowe's play "Dr. Faustus"

Essay by redicecreamHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2005

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The true meaning of Dr. Faustus is not an anti-intellectual play that preaches, "curiosity killed the cat". It remains almost too easy to see Faustus as the scholar, seeking knowledge, and his desire for knowledge that led to his downfall. To confine the message to something so narrow is to ignore the deeper meaning behind the play that is more important than the exterior idea of curiosity being wrong. The notion that Faustus lost sight of the spiritual level of existence and God remains the true intent of Dr. Faustus. Because of Faustus's blunder, he never reached God's mercy and love, and instead ignored it. Faustus plainly denied God's love and fell to eternal damnation.

Faustus represents the typical Renaissance man, thirsty for knowledge. This thirst soon drove him into his ghastly pact with Mephistophilis. The Evil Angel best summarizes this in scene I stating, "Go forward, Faustus, in the famous art, wherein all nature's treasury is contained: Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky, Lord and commander of these elements."

The restless spirit of the Renaissance drives Faustus to seek knowledge. He has already attained what he can through more conventional means, as he even compares his knowledge to the most famous figures of the Classical period, Hippocrates and Aristotle. Faustus sees himself as having come to the end of what he can learn through his human tools; he needs something that will allow him to move outside the realm of nature, something supernatural, and therefore something evil. This is the reason why he came into contact with Mephistophilis, as he sought to use the new power that would come to him to further his own knowledge.

Mephistophilis bestows Faustus with absolute power, and much like any human, Faustus becomes absolutely corrupted. He ceases to...