Doctor Faustus is a divided figured. His capricious character causes heightened duality and inconsistent conduct. He is constantly wavering between good and evil, right and wrong, repentance and eternal damnation. Faustus’ faith in God is reawakened when confronted by the sporadic suggestions of returning to the faith and renouncing the devil, in order to save his soul. His miserable aspiration for salvation: “My heart is hardened I cannot repent” (II, ii, 18) is quickly devalued by his whimsical proclamation: “I am resolved I shall not repent!” (II, ii, 30) We are left wondering which declaration is sincere? Faustus is ‘wishy-washy’ in all that he does throughout the entire play. It is rare that the words he speaks match the actions he composes. His ambivalent personality causes him to appeal to both Christ and Lucifer:
… O my Christ!
… O spare me my Lucifer!
You stars that reigned at my nativity
Now draw up Faustus like a foggy mist (V, ii, 154-187)
Doctor Faustus’ actions concerning visits from the good and bad angels further illustrate his variance in opinion. The good and bad angels represent the internal moral struggle Faustus is battling. They are personified emotions warring with each other; their existence in the play externalize Faustus’ i...
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... resolved, Faustus shall not repent! (II, ii, 27-30)
Doctor Faustus realizes that being a follower is not entirely bad, looking to Mephostophilis as evidence. Mephostophilis influences Doctor Faustus in ways that do not leave him time to consider the consequences of his actions. Faustus’ rootless faith results from the servant/ follower relationship he and Mephostophilis posses.
Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus shows the reader that everything in the mortal world is a double-edged sword. In his never-ending quest for knowledge and greatness, Faustus exemplifies how even scholarly life can have evil undertones when ambition is used for unholy purposes. Doctor Faustus’ rootless faith coupled with his whimsical identity completes and guarantees his damnation. Faustus sells his soul for what he believes to be limitless power, what price would you pay?
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