Faustus as a Medieval Morality Play Essays

1619 Words Aug 11th, 2012 7 Pages
Faustus as a Medieval Morality Play
By K.Friedman
Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus has been influenced by the conventions of a Medieval Morality play through Marlowe’s purely didactic use of the text to encourage Christian values. He uses various dramatised moral allegories that together encompass the themes of divided nature of man allegorised through the good and bad angels that demonstrate virtue and vice, alongside the concept of sin and degradation allegorised by the Seven Deadly Sins, the notion of fate versus free will, displayed by a lack of characterisation of God and the possibility of redemption through Christian framework. Such characteristics create the makings of a medieval morality play.

Marlowe influences Faustus
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She is simply a likeness conjured by the demon but Faustus tells her ‘rivals for your love can burn down Wittenberg in their longing to have you home’. Finally Faust displays Sloth in his unwillingness to do what God wants because of the effort it takes to do it. It is important to note, that as he continues to sin, his feats of magic seem degrade to becoming more and more like unimpressive cheap conjured tricks, practical jokes and empty illusions.
Marlowe puts sins as the core of the play to show degradation. From the onset, Faustus commits sins one by one and continues until his damning day. Marlowe suggests, through the allegory of seven deadly sins that excessive ambition can becomes sinful and provokes divine punishment. It must be understood that Faustus lives in a Christian universe that places limits on the pursuit of knowledge.

The theme of Fate Versus free-will in Faustus is an influence of a medieval morality play by the portrayal of individualism in humans making their own choices which determining their fate. As a result, Marlowe transcends this with his absent God, while Satan’s presence is magnified through the impetuous will and desires of Faustus alone.
Marlowe makes this clear even from the onset, when Faustus rants on

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