Desire and Downfall The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

Essay by Chrissy_ChaosCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2008

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Desire and Downfall (Topic # 7)The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is a strange yet fascinating work. Originally I found the work difficult to understand mainly because I did not think I could relate to Dr. Faustus. However, as the play progressed I found that Dr. Faustus and his problems are quite similar to anyone else’s life conflicts. Most everyone can relate to Faustus’ desire for the unattainable, in this case vast amounts of knowledge. It is also easy to relate to the feelings of guilt and inner turmoil Faustus experiences as a result of trading his soul to the devil. The interesting themes and motifs of this play make it great work not only to read but to teach to other people.

I initially thought I would not enjoy reading Doctor Faustus because it seemed to have too many Christian themes. The work seemed to focus around the ideas of redemption and damnation, and since I do not believe in either of those ideas, I was somewhat turned off by the work.

However, the conflicts Dr. Faustus faces are what caught my attention and held it. Dr. Faustus’ indecisiveness in deciding what he wants to do with his life is something that I, along with most other college students can relate to. As Faustus ponders his future in philosophy, medicine, law, and theology, I found myself reminiscing about how indecisive I was about picking a major and deciding on a fitting career path. Another part of Marlowe’s work that held a particular significance to me was the length Faustus was willing to go to get what he wanted.

In this case, Faustus goes to the most extreme lengths imaginable and trades his soul to the devil in exchange for vast amounts of knowledge. Most everyone...