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What is the irony of Doctor Faustus?

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user5018068 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM via web

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What is the irony of Doctor Faustus?

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Payal Khullar | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:16 PM (Answer #1)

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The key irony in the play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is that the soul of leading character- Doctor Faustus is in the hold of the same devil who so-called claims to be at his total, 24X7 service. Faustus thinks he is the master of the world and takes pride in the grand magical powers he has acquired, but his status is actually diametrically opposite. He has not achieved anything grand but is about to lose whatever he has got. Signing the pact with devil will not lead to any happiness or blessing but is just his impending damnation.

Besides that Faustus' interpretations of Biblical text are ironical. Consider the following lines from scene 1:

The reward of sin is death. That's hard...

...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.

Faustus missed the significance of repentance and forgiving power of God. The whole of the play's focus is the divine knowledge Faustus wants to attain but, in true sense, his knowledge and understanding is poor, hollow and worthless.


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