English / Dr. Faustus A Tragic Hero.

Dr. Faustus A Tragic Hero.

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Autor:  anton  07 April 2011
Tags:  Faustus,  Tragic
Words: 967   |   Pages: 4
Views: 625

Dr. Faustus a tragic hero.

In his tragedies, Marlow conceived his heroes, first of all, as men capable of great passions, consumed by their desires abandoned to the pursuits of their lusts, whether they lead to glory, butchery, and loss of kingdom or eternal damnation. The intensity of emotion gives them an elevation and a heroic interest that outlasts contemptibility or pathos. Nor are they without representational value. They linger in the mind as men absurd, exaggerated, monstrous at times, but appealingly human in moment when their passion rings true, and impressively typical of eternal struggle of passion and desire against the fixed limits of human attainment. It is in the realization of their emotions that the plays secure their great impressiveness. Tragedy has become not the presentation of history, myth or events of any sort, but the presentation of the passionate struggle and painful defeat of an extraordinary human being.

Marlowe presents a man of commanding personality who is swayed by an overpowering passion. In Dr.Faustus there is passion for knowledge; in Tamburlaine it is ambition; in the Jew of Malta there is a passion for greed of wealth. Marlovian heroes, the prototypes of Renaissance man, were mostly led by their consuming passions and had to struggle hard. They were far from being satisfied with ordinary success. They believed in all or nothing. Consuming passions and inordinate ambitions compelled them to strive for the delight and profit of the whole world.

Faustus is endowed with uncommon potentialities of mind and spirit. He has unquenchable thirst for power and knowledge. He I bent upon knowing the unknown and gaining the unimaginable. “Dr.Faustus is a man who of his own conscious willfulness brings tragedy and torment crushing down upon his head, the pitiful and fearful victim of his own ambitions and desires”.

In the opening scene, he sits in debating with himself. It is a kayo the mind of Faustus. It contains the undertones of humanity looking for powerful means to make life worth living. All human wisdom has been a story of progress, made possible by dissatisfaction which led men to look for better means of satisfaction.

We must trust Marlowe’s ‘ex-cathedra’ description of his protagonist – a man who, swollen with his pride in his attainment comes to a deserved end because he has preferred forbidden pursuits to ‘his chiefest bliss’. Not only Faustus has intellectual pride to an odious degree, Faustus is wholly egocentric. To himself, he is either the greatest of men or the greatest of abject sinners. He underrates his opponents and relishes his inflated sense of his own abilities. Faustus wallows in a delusion of self-importance:

“How pliant is this Mephistophilis

Full of obedience and humility!

Such is the force of magic and my spells…”.

Mephistophilis foreshadows Faustus’ fall in Lucifer’s, and insolence and pride are the instigators in both cases:

“Faust: Was not that Lucifer an angel once?

Meph: Yes, Faustus, and most dearly lov’d of God.

Faust: how comes it then that he is prince of devils?

Meph: O, by aspiring Pride and insolence;

For which God threw him from the face of heaven”.

It is agreed by all philosophers that in tragedy there is some sort of collision or conflict. In other words, there is conflict of feelings, modes of thoughts, desires, will and purposes.

Faustus embodies the Renaissance spirit of enquiry, which takes nothing for granted. The essence of conflict in his mind lies in the fact that just as he has no faith in God, he has no faith in Lucifer as well. Fear of damnation is to him as much an illusion as are joys of heaven. Without this conflict, Faustus would not be a man of heroic mould or his fall a tragedy.

He is caught in a conflict and a tragic one, a rarely seen in any play Greek, Roman or English before Marlowe’s Faustus. Dr.Faustus does not make a complete surrender to Lucifer despite his pact with the devil. He stands undecided between God and Devil.

Faustus is an intensely human figure. “He wants what all men good and bad, have wanted; to conquer time, space and ignorance. Above all, he wants knowledge.” Nothing that he conceived could obstruct his way or else what is human mind for? It is from his courage to act that his heroism springs and is further elevated by his struggle and sufferings. When at last, the tragic situation closes in on him; it reveals a conflict, which is the essence of great tragedies. Self-knowledge comes to him which links him with the greatest of the tragic heroes.

Faustus’ fall has a parallel with Adam’s fall, what medieval theologians called “The Fortunate Fall”. For without this fall, the birth of Christ or death would not be possible for redemption of man kind – Adam tasted the forbidden fruit; Faustus, his prototype, walked into the forbidden regions and, like Adam, brought about his fall. Self-knowledge flows into the soul of Faustus, and with it the horror of what he has done: “But Faustus’ offence can never be pardoned; the serpent that tempted Eve may be saved, but not Faustus.” All that tempted Eve may be saved, but not Faustus”. All those were ‘trifles and mere old wives’ tales’ change into an unequivocal reality. The soul-struggle now reaches a crucial state. He would leap up to his God; for vain pleasures of twenty four years, Faustus lost eternal joy and felicity.

In the world of tragedy, the hero can take the road of experiment. Dr.Faustus takes to the road of experiment and burns his fingers eternally as the price of truth discovered through the experiment. In Dr.Faustus “Marlowe interpolated into the old medieval equation the new, mysterious and terrifying ambiguous dynamic of the Renaissance, gave it a fascination and a dignity never realized in previous treatments of the story and made Faustus, rather than Hamlet, the first modern man”.

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