We will write a custom Essay on “Doctor Faustus” by Christopher Marlowe specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The British literature of the epoch of Enlightenment is characterized by the prevalence of the poetry and drama as well as by the focus on the themes of morality and Christian values. The play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe can be referred to the modified genre of the Morality Play, which was popular at that time.
The play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe can be referred to the genre of the Morality Play because it uncovers the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins. The genre of Morality Play was widely spread in the British literature of the Middle Ages. The focus on the moral qualities of the characters was the main distinctive feature of this genre (Morality play n.d.).
In particular, we know from the play that Faustus, the main character, sold his soul to devil. He encountered with the Seven Deadly Sins, each of which warned him about the consequences of his choice.
“BEEL. Faustus, we are come from hell in person to show thee
some pastime. Sit down, and thou shalt behold the Seven
Deadly Sins appear to thee in their own proper shapes
and likeness” (Marlowe, 1965, p.70).
Although the play by Christopher Marlowe is not typical for this genre, it has a lot of its features. We can say that the author modified the genre a little bit and, essentially, made a breakthrough in the literature of that period. His literary innovations are considered to be the steps on the path from the traditional literature of the Middle Ages to the literature of the epoch of Enlightenment. Being inspired by the Medieval play Everyman, Marlowe wrote his own work by using the major themes of the play.
However, Doctor Faustus is much more complicated work. The author tried to show that not the external circumstances determine human destiny but rather the inner world of the person does. His play uncovers his ideas and does this in the progressive manner. In particular, Marlowe uses the new literary techniques such as the blank verse. We can see that many lines of the play do not rhyme. In particular,
“ROB. What, Dick, look to the horses there till I come again. I
have gotten one of Doctor Faustus’ conjuring books, and
now we’ll have such knavery as’t passes” (Marlowe, 1965, p.72).
It should be noted that the character of Faustus revealed his complex and contradictory nature. He was tempted by the devil and did not pass the test. Seven Deadly Sins were stronger than his morality. The author of the play tried to show the tragedy of Faustus in his strong ambition and the low morality at the same time. He ruined his soul by himself because he lacked the right moral fiber to withstand the temptation. Faustus was the victim of his own desires.
In order to sum up all above mentioned, it should be said that the play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe represents the genre of the Morality Play in the British literature. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the author modified the traditions of the genre and introduced his own approach to the Morality Play. The belonging of Doctor Faustus to exactly this genre is proved by the main theme of the work, the spiritual struggle of the man with the Seven Deadly Sins.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Marlowe, Ch. (1965). Doctor Faustus. New York, USA: Routledge.
Morality Play? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.princeton.edu/