Dr. Faustus themes and symbols

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Information about Dr. Faustus themes and symbols

Published on May 9, 2013

Author: izz_t

Source: slideshare.net

Renaissance andMedieval ValuesPrideSin, Redemption, andDamnationPower as a CorruptingInfluenceThe Divided Nature ofManThemesThemes are the fundamentaland often universal ideasexplored in a literary work.Faustus rejects themedieval ways ofthinking and acceptsno limits in his questfor power andknowledge.Faustus first greatsin is pride. He isnot content withthe limitations onhuman knowledgeand seeksunlimited power.Faustus is constantlyundecided onwhether he shouldrepent to God orcontinue to followhis pact with Lucifer.Gaining absolutepower corruptsFaustus by makinghim mediocre andby transforming hisboundlessambition into ameaninglessdelight in pettycelebrity.

Sin• Christianity defines as acts contrary to the will of God.• In making a pact with Lucifer, Faustus commits what is in a sense the ultimatesin: not only does he disobey God, but he consciously and even eagerlyrenounces obedience to him, choosing instead to swear allegiance to thedevil.Damnation• Countless moments in which Faustus considers doing just that, urged on bythe good angel on his shoulder or by the old man in scene 12—both of whomcan be seen either as emissaries of God, personifications of Faustus’sconscience, or both.• Each time, Faustus decides to remain loyal to hell rather than seek heaven. Inthe Christian framework, this turning away from God condemns him to spendan eternity in hell.Redemption• In the final scene, he cries out to Christ to redeem him. But it is too late forhim to repent. In creating this moment in which Faustus is still alive butincapable of being redeemed, Marlowe steps outside the Christian worldviewin order to maximize the dramatic power of the final scene. Having inhabiteda Christian world for the entire play, Faustus spends his final moments in aslightly different universe, where redemption is no longer possible and wherecertain sins cannot be forgiven.

SymbolsSymbols areobjects, characters, figures, orcolours used to representabstract ideas or concepts.BloodFaustus’s Rejectionof the AncientAuthoritiesThe Good Angel andthe Evil AngelWhen Faustussigns away hissoul, he signs inblood,symbolizing thepermanent andsupernaturalnature of thispact. This rejectionsymbolizes Faustus’sbreak with themedieval world, whichprized authority aboveall else, in favour of amore modern spirit offree inquiryGood angel urging himto repent and serveGod, the evil angelurging him to follow hislust for power andserve Lucifer.The two symbolizehis divided will, partof which wants todo good and part ofwhich is sunk in sin.

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