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Discuss Doctor Faustus as a typical Renaissance Man.

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madhulikam3 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2009 at 10:15 PM via web

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Discuss Doctor Faustus as a typical Renaissance Man.

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nusratfarah | Valedictorian

Posted November 22, 2009 at 12:01 AM (Answer #1)

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Think about these following points:

1) Faustus is an individual man. He is a superior scholar, led by his own will, prefers to take decisions self-willingly, paying heed to nobody.

2) Faustus is a practitioner of knowledge, and not only that, is accused of practising black magic as Albertus Magnus or Roger Bacon of the Renaissance period were accused. He is a famous artisan. And for this, he gets entangled in the cobweb of Power. According to Foucault, there is a nexus between power and knowledge. But it is evident in the play that, Faustus's craving for knowledge, his thirst to cross the limit of gaining knowledge like an Icarus, shows his Renaissance characteristic.

3) Faustus's love for beauty, definitely proves a Renaissance feature, which is manifested through his love toward Helen's Classical beauty.

4) Above all, Faustus chooses knowledge and self over God. that you can take as the most significant Renaissance part of his Character.

Now, if you think about the points above, I think you will find your answer. Please don't forget to include quotes from the play.


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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 21, 2009 at 11:00 PM (Answer #2)

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Dr. Faustus has aspirations of acquiring knowledge that reach far above the commonly perceived boundaries of the time - maybe even taking him beyond the 'forbidden tree of knowledge'But he doesn't necessarily have the skills to attain this unearthly intelligence, or the linguistic prowess or imaginative scope. The potential merits of existing or even prospering in a world without a God seem unattainable - we and Faustus are only human. However, we can identify with him as we are all questioning curious beings and there are answers that we would all like to have whether they be about the limits of the universe or the cause of the Big Bang. Whether we would be prepared to go beyond the bounds of decency or moral limits is where the difference lies. Also, would we use the privilege of unearthly knowledge to do good or wise acts, or seek to further our own trivial materialistic needs? Faustus seems a Renaissance figure in his infinite appetites and the things he wants and also in his willingness to rid his world of everything that stands in the way of his own illusory enjoyment. Faustus very nearly "had it all" but wouldn't have deserved it and threw it all away.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 22, 2009 at 12:28 AM (Answer #3)

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He was a lover of arts, a connoiseur of many disciplines of all forms, a practicing scholar and a philosopher, a dweller in the supernatural, an orator, a professor, and a student of a myriad of different fields. He was able to fit in every circle, even though his own petulance madfe him unable to be normal. Yet, these elements made him whatwe call these days a "Renaissance Man," or a man who can basically do it all with grace.

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