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Doctor Faustus Essay

jeffspears 2 / -  
Oct 2, 2006   #1
Please review my Doctor Faustus essay rough draft. It is not completely finished, mainly the conclusion and the the transition to the 2nd paragraph. Any help with where to go with the conclusion would be much appreciated.

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Doctor Faustus is the story of a man who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in his pursuit for knowledge. In the original tale, Faust escapes the Devil's clutches through a loophole. Marlowe decides to take it in a completely different direction, ending his play with Faust's damnation. By changing the ending in this manner, his intentions become quite clear. While Marlowe's Doctor Faustus was written in the guise of a dramatic piece, it is nothing more than a morality play.

Throughout the play, opportunities arise to bring something dramatic into the play. Yet every time, the play continues on its course towards his inevitable damnation. From early on in the play, angels attempt to sway him away from evil. Rather than bringing about any sort of psychological or moral conflict, he instead simply shows his contempt for God and desire for power. "FAUSTUS Of wealth! Why, the signory of Emden shall be mine, When Mephastophilis shall stand by me. What god can hurt thee, Faustus? Thou art safe, Cast no more doubts (1001)." While he does attempt to repent when the Good Angel offers him a chance to repent or upon meeting with the Old Man, his repentant mood passes as quickly as it came to him. "FAUSTUS What shall I do to shun the snares of death? MEPHASTOPHILIS Thou traitor, Faustus: I arrest thy soul For disobedience to my sovereign lord. Revolt, or I'll in piecemeal tear thy flesh. FAUSTUS Sweet Mephastophilis, entreat thy lord To pardon my unjust presumption (1019-20)." His only real change occurs at the end of the play, when his twenty-four years are coming to an end. Though this could have been a chance for a dramatic turn, it instead ends with Faustus being taken to Hell. Clearly, he is condemned to show the audience that even one as great as Faustus could not live in sin and expect to escape it's effects. Another feature that reveals the morality play basis of Doctor Faustus is it's use of good and evil characters.

Throughout the play, the juxtaposition of good and evil is meant to show the sharp contrast between the good and evil characters to his audience. This is especially apparent in the characters on the Good Angel and the Evil Angel. Several times in the play, the two angels make their appearance to Faustus, the Good Angel attempting to bring Faustus back to Christ while the Evil Angel convinces him to continue giving his allegiance to Hell. These characters are allegories for the absolute conflict of good and evil that the play is based around. "GOOD ANGEL Faustus, repent, yet God will pity thee. EVIL ANGEL Thou art a spirit, God cannot pity thee (1005)." The pageant of the Seven Deadly Sins follows this model as well. It is Faustus' cries to Christ, representing absolute good, that cause Lucifer to bring out the Seven Deadly Sins, representing absolute evil, to distract Faustus. It is clear that the use of these absolute, allegorical characters pushes Doctor Faustus into the realm of the morality play.

Obviously, Doctor Fautus' status as a drama is questionable. Through the contrasting of good and evil and the lack of the dramatic within the play, it is more a moral screed than a drama.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Oct 2, 2006   #2

While I think you have a good rough draft here, I do have a few suggestions that might help. Your writing could be made richer by varying word choice more. For example, you use the word "play" five times from the last word of the first paragraph through the next three sentences. Try finding some other ways to express what you are saying, like "something dramatic into the action," or "into the story" instead of "something dramatic into the play."

You also have a lot of uses of "him" or "his" in the second paragraph, without using a proper noun. Referring to Faustus by name a bit more often might avoid confusion.

Be aware that the possessive form of "its" does not have an apostrophe: "its effects"; "its uses." When you use "it's" you are saying "it is."

Saying "the juxtaposition of good and evil is meant to show the sharp contrast between the good and evil characters to his audience" really isn't saying much; perhaps you could expand on this a bit more.

While I find your assertion that it is a morality play rather than a drama to be an interesting one, you don't really explain what the difference is. "Though this could have been a chance for a dramatic turn, it instead ends with Faustus being taken to Hell." Why is this not dramatic? Perhaps you could give your reader a clearer idea of what drama is, as opposed to what constitutes a morality play. Could not contrasting good and evil be dramatic? If not, why not? Expanding on this might give you more to say in your conclusion.

Finally, it is usually considered superfluous to say "Obviously . . ." because it is your argument that makes the case for your position. Don't beat your reader over the head with it.

I hope this helps!


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