How does Marlowe's Doctor Faustus compare to Shelley's Frankenstein?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus are both cautionary, moralistic works about the use and misuse of knowledge.

Mary Shelley is unapologetic in sustaining the "be careful what you wish for" philosophy throughout her book, whereas Marlowe, after hypocritically criticizing and satirizing those who actively resist scientific and other intellectual advances, ultimately supports and reinforces their fearful, religion-based "status quo" philosophy.

Frankenstein is utterly and unrelentingly serious in tone and mood throughout the book. Doctor Faustus, although ultimately tragic like Frankenstein, is satirical, comic, farcical at times, and even whimsical.

Marlowe seems not to take his subject matter very seriously. Faustus is simply having too much fun being the smartest and most powerful person on earth (with some minor limitations) to recognize and appreciate the seriousness of his situation.


(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1322 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team