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Example research essay topic: Soul To The Devil Doctor Faustus - 1,149 words

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Doctor Faustus The play Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe, is a story that shows the many human flaws inside people, and how they affect not only life but also the afterlife. Choices are a huge part of the path of life and the direction we take. The consequences of or bad choices can lead to punishments unthinkable to most. The play definitely implies that individuals make their own choices; the thing is that sometimes those choices are bad ones. This is the case in the character of Doctor Faustus.

Dr. Faustus' main character flaw was his impulsiveness due to his selfish and greedy demeanor. This is something that affected him repeatedly throughout the play. It is shown in his quick decision to deal with the devil and sign away his soul, although, he doesn't sign away his soul until Act two, scene one. Lines 95 to 117 show the details in which he signs his soul to the devil. "Ay, take it and the devil give thee good of it!" (Ray, p. 27) Faustus has made a decision that will affect his eternity, a never ending lapse of time.

All Faustus can think about is the twenty-four years in which he will have Mephistopheles to complete almost any task his heart desires. His quick decisions are due to his wanting too much, too easily. Greed was inside Faustus, which made him easy prey to the devil. The devil takes advantage of Faustus' impulses and the greed that consumed Faustus' heart. His impulses are also apparent in his acts after the devil empowers him with Mephistopheles. Faustus allows his anger to get the best of him and ensues with quick retaliation.

One example of this is shown in Act four, scene two when Faustus takes Benvolio up on his arrogant remark about Actaeon. "Ay ay, and I am content too. And thou bring Alexander and his paramour before the Emperor, I'll be Actaeon and turn into a stag. " (Ray, p. 34) Faustus beats him to it, and while Benvolio was sticking his head out the window to see the Emperor, Faustus made horns sprout out from Benvolio's head. His ruckus in trying to get in the window caused many people to come and see Benvolio in such a way. The Emperor tells Faustus that Benvolio had learned his lesson, and that he should make the horns disappear from upon Benvolio's head. Faustus found much joy in Benvolio's fear, and also in the commanding presence he had created for himself. The respect he had gained for himself had sprouted out of fear of him, which would not be there if not for Mephistopheles and the Devil.

If he had not had the power of evil, Faustus would have had to just bite his tongue and deal with being belittled. The mistake Faustus makes is preferring unsanctioned spiritual alchemy over sanctioned spiritual sublimation, in other words, revolution over evolution. Faustus merely blows his Self up, by disproportionately inflating it, expanding it beyond all limits, so it can no longer be hold together or remain whole. Faustus' fall is caused chiefly by lack of faith and patience. He acknowledges his infinite desire and gets dizzy at the prospect of infinite dissatisfaction. Faustus approaches magic in a disoriented state; his being "ravished" by it shows his succumbing to passion in ecstatic, irrational way.

Faustus' abandon indicates his self-destructive drive to release his energy. Despite his insistent desire for control, Faustus, in fact, longs for sheer possibility, for the anarchy of impetus and imagination. As anyone who refuses to construct his selfhood, completing this divinely appointed task, Faustus desires instead to escape this ponderous responsibility by ignoring the constant anxiety of genuine, unfinalizable selfhood. Like the Manichaean bishop of the same name, Faustus, mistakenly, longs for absolute knowledge in futile hope that it will make faith unnecessary. Refusing to receive the gift of faith, Faustus thinks that he will not have to believe when he knows. In fact, every time he seems to address God, he does so from without not from within faith which makes his appeals more than useless, indeed, blasphemous.

This explains why his prayers are answered by the devil. Faustus revolts against the very necessity of faith, which demonstrates how much his philosophy is influenced by Manichean heresy. Faustus chooses to accept illusion in place of reality, because he thinks that he makes a choice between two equals, two kingdoms of good and evil. Like Manicheans, Faustus assumes that Devil has something to offer, that the choice he continues to confirm is between two absolutes, while, in fact, life and death are not equal: life is and death is not, thus their ontological status is simply incompatible. Evil is a negation of good. The impulse that gets Faustus in the end, is his struggle to not repent, then repent, and not repent, and then repent.

This cycle is the end of him. Faustus is so easily swayed by what is the best deal he can get for himself. He begins to repent when he thinks of the eternity he will spend in hell. Faustus is scared of the eternity factor, that there is never an end, whether two days or ten thousand years. Faustus begins now to weigh the choices he had made for himself, whereas he should have weighed them before making the choice of signing his soul to the devil.

He doesn't know what will become of him in hell, so he calls upon God. He begs for God's forgiveness, but is told that it is too late in lines 121 - 122. "And now, pour soul, must thy good angel leave thee, the jaws of hell are open to receive thee, " speaks the Good angel, and Faustus begins to realize that he is just too late and the mistakes he had made were way too severe. (Ray, p. 49) The Good angel leaves Faustus and he quickly realizes that he has sinned against Lucifer and will now suffer more in hell because of that. He calls upon both Lucifer and God to take pity upon him, shown in the lines 151 - 156. Neither takes pity and Faustus is left with the life he had created for himself, and no one can save him from that. (Ray, p. 51) In the end, Faustus met his maker, which was himself and the monsters that lived inside of him. Greed, anger, jealousy and impulsiveness brewed inside Faustus and capsized him. His mortal character flaw taught him in the end, that it isn't what you amount to during life, but the changes you can make to yourself to improve the outside world.

Quick fixes and easy living can compromise eternity and eternity is the last and longest stop in a person. Word Count: 1, 123 Bibliography: 1. Ray, J. (1998). Analyzing Marlowe's Works: Doctor Faustus. New York: Harper Collins.


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