Thursday, March 5, 2020

British Drama - Dr. Faustus Summary, Character, Themes


Dr. Faustus

About Dr. Faustus

Dr. Faustus, Marlowe lived during a time of great transformation for Western Europe. New advances in science were overturning ancient ideas about astronomy and physics. the invention of America had transformed the ecu conception of the planet . Increasingly available translations of classical texts were a strong influence on English literature and art. Christian and pagan worldviews interacted with one another in rich and sometimes paradoxical ways, and signs of that complicated interaction are present in many of Marlowe's works. England, having endured centuries of war , was within the middle of an extended period of stability and peace.


Not least of the good changes of Marlowe's time was England's dramatic rise to major power . When Queen Elizabeth came to power in 1558, six years before Marlowe's birth, England was a weak and unstable nation. Torn by internal strife between Catholics and Protestants, an economy in tatters, and unstable leadership, England was susceptible to invasion by her stronger rivals on the continent.
By the time of Elizabeth's death in 1603, she had turned the weakling of Western Europe into an influence of the primary rank, poised to become the mightiest nation within the world. When the young Marlowe came to London looking to form a life within the theatre, England's capitol was a crucial center of trade, learning, and art. As time passed, the city's financial, intellectual, and artistic importance became still greater, as London continued its transformation from unremarkable center of a backwater nation to at least one of the world's most enjoyable metropolises. Drama was entering a golden age, to be crowned by the glory of Shakespeare. Marlowe was an excellent innovator of poem , unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter. The richness of his dramatic verse anticipates Shakespeare, and a few argue that Shakespeare's achievements owed considerable debt to Marlowe's influence.
Like the earlier play, Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus may be a play of deep questions concerning morality, religion, and man's relationship to both. England was a Protestant country since the time of Queen Elizabeth I's father, Henry VIII . Although theological and doctrinal differences existed between the Church of England and therefore the Roman Catholic Church , the previous still inherited a wealth of culture, thought and tradition from the latter. Christianity was a mixture of divergent and sometimes contradictory influences, including the religious traditions of the Middle East , the heritage of classical Greco-Roman thought and institutions, mystery religions, and north European superstition and magic.
  
The Reformation didn't include reform of this oppressive and violent practice. Yet magic continued to stay a hold on people's imaginations, and benign and ambiguous views of magic continued to exist in popular folklore. The conceptions of scholarship further complicated the image , especially after the Renaissance. Scholars took into their studies subjects not considered scientific by today's standards: astrology, alchemy, and demonology. a number of these subjects blurred the lines between acceptable pursuit of data and dangerous heresy.
As this new Christian folklore of sorcery evolved, certain motifs rose to prominence. Once Christ was rejected, a sorcerer could give his soul to the devil instead, receiving in exchange powers during this life, here and now. Numerous Christian stories feature such bargains, and one among the foremost famous evolved round the historical person Johanned Faustus, a German astrologer of the first sixteenth century.


Marlowe took his plot from an earlier German play about Faustus, but he transformed an old story into a powerhouse of a piece , one that has drawn widely different interpretations since its first production. Marlowe's Doctor Faustus is first great version of the story, although not the last. within the nineteenth century, the good German writer Johann Wolfgang van Goethe gave the story its greatest incarnation in Faust. Faustus' name has become a part of our language. "Faustian bargain" has come to mean a deal made for earthly gain at a high ethical and spiritual cost, or alternately any choice with short-lived benefits and a hell of a price.

Doctor Faustus Character List

Faustus
A brilliant man, who seems to possess reached the bounds of natural knowledge. Faustus may be a scholar of the first sixteenth century within the German city of Wittenburg. he's arrogant, fiery, and possesses a thirst for knowledge. As an intellectual, Faustus is conversant in things (like demon summoning and astrology) not normally considered academic subjects by today's universities. Faustus decides to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for earthly power and knowledge and a further 24 years of life. He proceeds to waste this point on self-indulgence and low tricks.



Faustus is that the absolute center of the play, which has few truly developed characters.

Mephostophilis
From the Hebrew, mephitz, destroyer, and tophel, liar. A devil of craft and cunning. he's the devil who comes at Faustus' summoning, and therefore the devil who serves Faustus for twenty-four years. In lore, Mephostophilis (also spelled Mephistopheles, or Miphostophiles, and also called Mephisto) seems to be a relative latecomer within the recognized hierarchy of demons. He possibly was created for the Faustus legend.

In Marlowe's play, Mephostophilis has layers to his personality. He admits that separation from God is anguish, and is capable of fear and pain. But he's gleefully evil, participating at every level in Faustus' destruction. Not only does Mephostophilis get Faustus to sell his soul; he also encourages Faustus to waste his twenty-four years of power.




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Wagner
Servant to Faustus. He steals Faustus' books and learns the way to summon demons. At the top of the play, he seems concerned about his master's fate.

Good Angel and Evil Angel
Personifications of Faustus' inner turmoil, who give differing advice to him at key points. Their characters also reflect Christian belief that humans are assigned guardian angels, which devils can influence human thoughts.

Valdes
Friend to Faustus, who teaches him the dark arts. He appears only in Act One.

Cornelius
Friend to Faustus, who teaches him the dark arts. He appears only in Act One.

Lucifer
Satan. "Lucifer" original meant Venus, pertaining to the planet's brilliance. In Christian lore, Lucifer is usually thought to be another name of Satan. Some traditions say that Lucifer was Satan's name before the autumn , while the Fathers of the Catholic Church held that Lucifer wasn't Satan's proper noun but a word showing the brilliance and wonder of his station before the autumn . He appears at a couple of choice moments in Doctor Faustus, and Marlowe uses "Lucifer" as Satan's proper noun .



Belzebub
One of Lucifer's officers. a strong demon.


The Seven Deadly Sins


Personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins, not acts but impulses or motivations that lead men to sinful actions. They array themselves during a pageant before Faustus, although scholars think now that this section wasn't written by Marlowe.


Doctor Faustus (Marlowe) Summary
Doctor Faustus, a talented German scholar at Wittenburg, rails against the bounds of human knowledge. He has learned everything he can learn, approximately he thinks, from the traditional academic disciplines. All of those things have left him unsatisfied, so now he turns to magic. an honest Angle and an Evil Angel arrive, representing Faustus' choice between Christian conscience and therefore the path to damnation. the previous advises him to go away off this pursuit of magic, and therefore the latter tempts him. From two fellow scholars, Valdes and Cornelius, Faustus learns the basics of the black arts. He thrills at the facility he will have, and therefore the great feats he'll perform. He summons the devil Mephostophilis. They flesh out the terms of their agreement, with Mephostophilis representing Lucifer. Faustus will sell his soul, in exchange for 24 years of power, with Mephostophilis as servant to his every whim.


In a comic relief scene, we learn that Faustus' servant Wagner has gleaned some magic learning. He uses it to convince Robin the Clown to be his servant. Before the time involves sign the contract, Faustus has misgivings, but he puts them aside. Mephostophilis returns, and Faustus signs away his soul, writing together with his own blood. The words "Homo fuge" ("Fly, man) appear on his arm, and Faustus is seized by fear. Mephostophilis distracts him with a dance of devils. Faustus requests a wife, a requirement Mephostophilis denies, but he does give Faustus books filled with knowledge.
Some time has passed. Faustus curses Mephostophilis for depriving him of heaven, although he has seen many wonders. He manages to torment Mephostophilis, he can't stomach mention of God, and therefore the devil flees. the great Angel and Evil Angel arrive again. the great Angel tells him to repent, and therefore the Evil Angel tells him to stay to his wicked ways. Lucifer, Belzebub, and Mephostophilis return, to intimidate Faustus. he's cowed by them, and agrees to talk and think no more of God. They delight him with a pageant of the Seven Deadly Sins, then Lucifer promises to point out Faustus hell. Meanwhile, Robin the Clown has gotten one among Faustus' magic books.
Faustus has explored the heavens and therefore the earth from a chariot drawn by dragons, and is now flying to Rome, where the feast honoring St. Peter is close to be celebrated. Mephostophilis and Faustus await the Pope, depicted as an arrogant, decidedly unholy man. They play a series of tricks, by using magic to disguise themselves and make themselves invisible, before leaving.


The Chorus returns to inform us that Faustus returns home, where his vast knowledge of astronomy and his abilities earn him wide renown. Meanwhile, Robin the Clown has also learned magic, and uses it to impress his friend Rafe and summon Mephostophilis, who doesn't seem too happy to be called.
At the court of Charles V, Faustus performs illusions that delight the Emperor. He also humiliates a knight named Benvolio. When Benvolio and his friends attempt to avenge the humiliation, Faustus has his devils hurt them and cruelly transform them, in order that horns grow on their heads.
Faustus swindles a Horse-courser, and when the Horse-courser returns, Faustus plays a daunting trick on him. Faustus then pops to serve the Duke of Vanholt. Robin the Clown, his friend Dick, the Horse-courser, and a Carter all meet. all of them are swindled or hurt by Faustus' magic. they are going off to the court of the Duke to settle scores with Faustus.
Faustus entertains the Duke and Duchess with petty illusions, before Robin the Clown and his band of ruffians arrives. Faustus toys with them, besting them with magic, to the delight of the Duke and Duchess.
Faustus' twenty-four years are running out. Wagner tells the audience that he thinks Faustus prepares for death. He has made his will, leaving all to Wagner. But whilst death approaches, Faustus spends his days feasting and drinking with the opposite students. For the delight of his fellow scholars, Faustus summons a spirit to require the form of Helen of Troy. Later, an Old Man enters, warning Faustus to repent. Faustus opts for pleasure instead, and asks Mephostophilis to bring Helen of Troy to him, to be his love and luxury during these last days. Mephostophilis readily agrees.
Later, Faustus tells his scholar friends that he's damned, which his power came at the worth of his soul. Concerned, the students exit, leaving Faustus to satisfy his fate.


As the hour approaches, Mephostophilis taunts Faustus. Faustus blames Mephostophilis for his damnation, and therefore the devil proudly takes credit for it. the great and Evil Angel arrive, and therefore the Good Angel abandons Faustus. The gates of Hell open. The Evil Angel taunts Faustus, naming the horrible tortures seen there.
The Clock strikes eleven. Faustus gives a final, frenzied monologue, regretting his choices. in the dark the devils enter. As Faustus begs God and therefore the devil for mercy, the devils drag him away. Later, the Scholar friends find Faustus' body, torn to pieces.
Epilogue. The Chorus emphasizes that Faustus is gone, his once-great potential wasted. The Chorus warns the audience to recollect his fall, and therefore the lessons it offers.

Doctor Faustus Themes

Man's Limitations and Potential
The possible range of human accomplishment is at the guts of Doctor Faustus, and lots of of the opposite themes are auxiliary to the present one. The axis of this theme is that the conflict between Greek or Renaissance worldviews, and therefore the Christian worldview that has held sway throughout the medieval period. As Europe emerged from the center Ages, contact with previously lost Greek learning had a revelatory effect on man's conception of himself. While the Christian worldview places man below God, and requires obedience to him, the Greek worldview places man at the middle of the universe. For the Greeks, man defies the gods at his own peril, but man has nobility that no deity can match.


Doctor Faustus, scholar and lover of beauty, chafes at the little bit of human limitation. He seeks to realize godhood himself, then he leaves behind the Christian conceptions of human limitation. Though he fancies himself to be a seeker of Greek greatness, we see quickly that he's not up to the task.

Pride, and Sin
Pride is one among the Seven Deadly Sins, arguable the one that results in all the others. Within the Christian framework, pride may be a lethal motivation because it makes the sinner forget his fallen state. For Christians, men are fallen since birth, because they carry with them the taint of sin . A men made haughty proudly forgets that he shares Eve's sin, and must therefore be saved by the gift of grace. Only God, through Christ, can dispense this grace, and therefore the man who forgets that fact deprives himself of the trail to salvation.


Faustus' first great sin is pride. He doesn't stop there. Reflecting the Christian view, pride gives rise to all or any of the opposite sins, and ends ironically with the proud man's abasement. Faustus goes quickly from pride to all or any of the opposite sins, becoming increasingly petty and low.

Flesh and Spirit
The division between flesh and spirit was stronger in Greek thought than in Hebrew thought, but Christians adapted the divide into their own belief system. While Westerners now take this conception of being without any consideration , the flesh/spirit divide isn't a feature of the many of the world's major belief systems. neither is the flesh/spirit divide necessary for belief within the afterlife: both Hindus and Buddhists imagine the human entity differently, while retaining belief in life after death.
In Christianity, flesh and spirit are divided to value the later and devalue the previous . Faustus' problem is that he values his flesh, and therefore the pleasure it can provide him, while failing to seem after the state of his soul.

Damnation
Damnation is eternal. Eternal hell is another concept that Westerners deem granted as a part of religion, but again this belief's uniqueness must be appreciated. While the Jewish view of the afterlife was somewhat vague, Christians developed the thought of judgment after death. Moslems adapted an identical conception of hell and heaven, and to the present day eternal hell and eternal heaven remain a crucial feature of Christianity and Islam.


While Buddhists and Hindus have hell in their belief systems, for the foremost part in neither religion is hell considered eternal. for instance , endless hell in Mahayana would contradict Buddhist beliefs about transience and therefore the saving power of Buddha's compassion.
Not so in Christianity. If Faustus dies without repenting and accepting God, he are going to be damned forever. As we learn from Mephostophilis, hell isn't merely an area , but separation from God's love.

Salvation, Mercy, and Redemption
Hell is eternal, but so is heaven. For a Christian, all that's necessary to be saved from damnation is acceptance of Jesus Christ's grace. Even after signing away his soul to the devil, Faustus has the choice of repentance which will save him from hell. But once he has committed himself to his own damnation, Faustus seems unable to vary his course. While Christianity seems to simply accept even a deathbed repentance as acceptable for the attainment of salvation, Marlowe plays thereupon idea, possibly rejecting it for his own thematic purposes. (See analysis of 5.2-end of the play).



Valuing Knowledge over Wisdom
Faustus features a thirst for knowledge, but he seems unable to accumulate wisdom. Faustus' thirst for knowledge is impressive, but it's overshadowed by his complete inability to know certain truths. due to this weakness, Faustus cannot use his knowledge to raised himself or his world. He ends life with a head filled with facts, and vital understanding gained too late to save lots of him.

Talk and Action


Faustus is, with no exceptions, beautiful when he speaks and contemptible when he acts. His opening speeches about the uses to which he'll put his power are exhilarating, but once he gains near-omnipotence he squanders twenty-four years in debauchery and petty tricks. This gap between high talk and low action seems associated with the fault of valuing knowledge over wisdom. While Faustus has learned much of the Greek world's learning, he has not really understood what he's been reading. He can mention potential and plans in terms of a Greek worldview, but he lacks the interior strength to follow through on his purported goals.


Next Midsummer Night's Dream 

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