Faith and Repentance in Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus"
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From the Paper:"Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus is set in a time where religion, particularly Christianity, dominated the lifestyles of those who lived in it. Doctor Faustus fails to mold to views of the time in that he mentions that he believes religion is "unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile" and that magic is his delight (8). He sells his soul to the devil and gains the servant of Lucifer, Mephistopheles, as his slave for twenty-four years. In Christianity, it is a belief that at the hour of death, one theoretically only needs to request forgiveness and he or she will be saved, but Faustus does not explicitly repent. There is enough evidence within the play to suggest reasons why God did not save him, and much of it has to do with Faustus' actions throughout the play. God does not save Faustus as the end of the play because of Faustus' own indecisiveness, fear, and his refusal to formally repent throughout the play. This will be explored through the examination of Lucifer and the Good Angel, the Old Man, and Faustus' parting words.
"Faustus illustrates a certain level of indecisiveness in that he clearly desires the knowledge and the power that would come along with selling his soul, but he fears the consequences once his contract is due. He desires salvation in the afterlife, but his craving for earthly power and fear of the devil seem to override all else. The Good Angel in the play states that it is "never too late" for Faustus to repent (30). Lucifer notifies him that: "Christ cannot save thy soul, for He is just" (30). Because Christ is "just" or "holy," Faustus may believe that he cannot be saved since he is now unholy. He promises to refrain from words of heavenly things as it violates his contract. He fears being torn apart by the devil, which is what he is told would occur if he calls out to God, so he does not repent. He also demonstrates a certain fear of God in Act 2: "If unto God, he'll throw me down to hell," which is a possible fear that stayed with him even at the end of the play (23). This fear may have prevented him from formally repenting, which gives reason to why God did not save him. Faustus may not believe he can be saved. Faustus' fear of the devil prevents him from naming God, but his fear of God's wrath perhaps prevents him from properly seeking salvation."
Cite this Descriptive Essay:
Faith and Repentance in Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" (2015, June 17) Retrieved January 23, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/descriptive-essay/faith-and-repentance-in-christopher-marlowe-doctor-faustus-154203/
"Faith and Repentance in Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus"" 17 June 2015. Web. 23 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/descriptive-essay/faith-and-repentance-in-christopher-marlowe-doctor-faustus-154203/>