Please explain the meaning of gluttony and link it to the contents of Doctor Faustus?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Gluttony, in the biblical sense, refers to one of the seven deadly sins. It consists on the act of indulging excessively with food, drink, or material things. The idea is that, by over-indulging, we act in  maliciously, selfish ways. 

Since Doctor Faustus is a man who likes to tamper with the established order of things, and push issues to a deeper level, he would naturally want to indulge in every single one of the seven deadly sins. Since he has made a pact with Mephistophilis he really believes that he is otherwordly and beyond consequences, even in committing the deadly sins. This is shown in Scene VII.

During this scene, Mephistophilis indulges Doctor Faustus to a visit to Rome, for an audience with the Pope. Remember how Faustus really believes that he deserves and is allowed to do everything he wants. This time, he asks the devil to make him invisible during the audience, so that he (Faustus) and the devil would have a good laugh courtesy of the friars and the Pope. 

[..]Then charm me, Mephistophilis, that I May be invisible, to do what I please Unseen of any whilst I stay in Rome.

[Mephistophilis charms him.]

So, Faustus, now. Do what thou wilt, thou shalt not be  discerned.

During this scene, Faustus commits gluttony by snatching the food and drink from the Pope for no reason at all- just for the sake of committing the sin. The scene is quite funny, however, because the solemn processes of offering things to the Pope are made to look silly and mundane due to the frivilous actions of Doctor Faustus. After all, not only could Faustus snatch and take things away physically from the Pope and the friars, but they could also hear him say mean and funny things to them as well. 

POPE.My Lord of Lorrain, wilt please you draw near?FAUSTUS.Fall to, and the Devil choke you an you spare!POPE.How now! Who's that which spake?—Friars, look
about.(65)FIRST FRIAR.Here's nobody, if it like your Holiness.POPE.My lord, here is a dainty dish was sent me from the
Bishop of Milan.FAUSTUS.I thank you, sir.

[Snatches the dish.]

Hence, Faustus takes the Pope's food and drink just to be spiteful and basically to merely please himself and the devil, and for the sake of taking it even without needing it. Remember also how Faustus's search for power always ends up nowhere, and that his actions are always worthless. 

In the end of the scene, he gets cursed as a "ghost" that suddenly has come to bother the Pope. This cursing is funny and would have gotten Marlowe in a lot of trouble. Not only does Faustus and Mephistophilis beat the friars, but they do this after a lot of religious jargon is used in the dialogue

Cursed be he that stole away his holiness' meat from the table! Maledicat Dominus 

Cursed be he that struck his holiness a blow on the face! Maledicat Dominus!...

Cursed be he that took away his holiness' wine! Maledicat Dominus! Et omnes sancti! Amen!

Therefore, the gluttony occurs with the taking of other people's things just to indulge in them for no purpose at all. It is normal for Faustus, since his character has no real purpose but to waste time in follies. However, the scene makes for a very quick and fun read. 



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