Shakespeare's The Tempest and Marlowe's Doctor Faustus Essay

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Shakespeare's brilliant portrayal of Prospero's use of magic and power continues to draw both readers and audiences with The Tempest's many meanings and interpretations. As a main character, Prospero, is a person that many people can identify themselves with, with his want to achieve his desires and gain power over others through the use of magic. It is this identification that exceeds Shakespearean works, with The Tempest both emulating and presenting themes from other works in the Elizabethan period. Such as Christopher Marlowe's “Doctor Faustus”, a play written twenty years prior to The Tempest, containing the same themes of magic and power. Also, Both Faustus and Prospero portray the idea that power, such as magic, originates from …show more content…
One of those links leads to The Tempest, which can be seen as an alternative ending to Faustus, where the magic book is finally destroyed. Doctor Faustus is a quest into the underworld, where one is able to explore within reason, such as the “descent of Orpheus into the Underworld” (Woodman 68). Faustus decides to “settle [his] studies”, and search beyond the average books of the Renaissance curriculum, such as the “metaphysics of magicians/and necromantic books”, becoming an overreacher (Marlowe 1.1.1,1.1.50-52). The books Faustus reads do not have evil motives, and are not satanic, some of books used to be thought of as essential for the Renaissance curriculum; However, these books promote the ambition of intellect, and challenge the solidarity of social and religious doctrines, so they are excluded by the society because of prejudice. Faustus' reading of these books promise him riches and power: “his dominion that exceeds in this/Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man./A sound magician is a demi-god” (1.1.61-63). Here enters Mephistopheles, a demon, who comes with the blunt announcement that he “came hither of [his] own accord”, that Faustus' books have no power on Mephistopheles, or any demon for that matter, therefore Mephistopheles can't serve Faustus without his Lord Lucifer's permission (1.3.44). Mephistopheles then reveals that there is no power or demonic force in the books, the books are merely a signal for demons to “fly in hope to get [the reader's]

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