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Humanism is the most important trait of Renaissance Age Find this in Christopher...

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shewa55 | Valedictorian

Posted August 31, 2013 at 1:09 AM via web

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Humanism is the most important trait of Renaissance Age Find this in Christopher Marlow's Doctor Faustus. Give reference from text.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 31, 2013 at 6:32 AM (Answer #1)

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It is important to see this play in many ways as a clash between the medieval world view and Renaissance values. The first placed God at the centre of the universe and decentred the role of man, whereas the second did the opposite, placing humanistic concerns, such as the power of the individual and of learning and scientific inquiry centre stage. Theology became displaced with other disciplines becoming more important, and this is highlighted in Faustus's opening speech in scene 1, where he lists the various disciplines of knowledge, including medicine, theology and law, rejecting the medieval focus on tradition and authority and determines to not settle for what others have thought and concluded but to embark on his own quest for knowledge, and through knowledge, to gain power:

O, what a world of profit and delight,
Of power, of honor and omnipotence,
Is promised to the studious artisan!
All things that move between the quiet poles
Shall be at my command. Emperors and kings
Are but obeyed in their several provinces,
but his dominion that exceeds in this
Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man.
A sound magician is a demigod.

It is clear that Doctor Faustus is not a man to settle for second best, and this quote clearly links learning and industry with gaining "power... honour and omnipotence." Instead of living in a medieval world where man has little control or power over his destiny, Marlow envisages in this speech living in a world where he is in control over all created order and having greater power than "Emperors and kings." The humanism in this play is therefore reinforced through the way that Marlow places Doctor Faustus at the very centre of the play, albeit temporarily. He is the perfect Renaissance Man in the way that he consciously rejects God and tradition and seeks to gain power himself and place himself at the centre of the universe.

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