Describe the character of Doctor Faustus.

1 Answer | Add Yours

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In Christopher Marlowe's work, Dr. John Faustus is a scholar from the university town of Wittenberg that makes the decision to sell his soul to the devil in return for twenty-four years of power and influence. In particular, Faustus is interested in gaining an understanding of the forbidden knowlege of magic, which he decides to pursue instead of more legitimate scholarly avenues like philosophy and theology. Faustus is particularly dismissive of theology, because he views the concept of divine justice and mercy as inherently unjust:

"The reward of sin is death." That's hard. [Reads.] "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there's no truth in us." Why, then, belike we must sin and so consequently die. Aye, we must die an everlasting death. What doctrine call you this, che sera sera, "What will be will be?" Divinity, adieu, These metaphysics of magicians and necromantic books are heavenly...

Faustus achieves great power, but is ultimately consumed by it. He is literally torn apart by Lucifer and Mephistopheles. His initial decision, combined with his stubborn and arrogant refusal to repent, is his undoing.


We’ve answered 317,457 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question