Homework Help

How does Dr. Faustus comform to the genre of tragedy? Dr. Faustus. English 1. By...

user profile pic

deza7 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 13, 2007 at 4:06 PM via web

dislike 6 like

How does Dr. Faustus comform to the genre of tragedy?

Dr. Faustus. English 1. By Heywood.

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

jtp8r | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 3, 2008 at 7:44 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

Faustus is tragic because the story ends without any hope of redemption. The titular character receives multiple opportunities to repent, but remains in league with Lucifer until it is too late for him to renege on his contract. Part of what contributes to his downfall is his pride, or hubris according to the ancient Greeks. He believes himself strong enough to challenge God and unravel the mysteries of the universe, and gladly signs his soul over to Mephastophilis in order to achieve this. The same faith in his own decision prevents him from successfully breaking his contract, even though we see on a number of occasions that this might be possible. By the time he realizes that he has made a horrible mistake - his moment of anagnorisis, to refer back to the Greeks - he feels as though he has been separated totally from God and resigns himself to Hell.

Perhaps the most tragic part of the narrative is that Hell isn't something that just happens to Faustus. Instead, it is the result of a bad decision - a gloomy fate of his own choosing.

user profile pic

lmillerm | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted February 14, 2007 at 1:48 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

"Dr. Faustus" is a story of a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for necromantic powers (magic). The devil makes him a deal and allows Dr. Faustus 24 years of magical power, but at the end of that time, he was to be taken to Hell. "Dr. Faustus" is a tragic story because the protagonist suffers extreme suffering as a result of the choices he makes throughout the course of the play.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes