Does Marlowe's Dr. Faustus represent humanity in general? 

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe in some ways is an allegory of the fall of man through the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which in the Bible was the cause of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Under this reading, the Original Sin was the desire of humanity to have knowledge of the sort that only God could possess; at its most extreme, this understanding of the Fall appears in Gnosticism as Sophia's desire to know God only as God could know himself. 

In Marlowe's play, Dr. Faustus represents an extreme of the human quest for knowledge and the way it can lead to a fall from innocence. In this way, Dr. Faustus could stand for humanity in general. However, Dr. Faustus is not an ordinary person, but rather an example of a particular type of Renaissance Humanist, highly educated, intelligent, cosmopolitan, skeptical, worldly, and sophisticated. Thus we can also read the play as portraying an extreme of intellectual arrogance and personal pride, something which is not a characteristic of all people, but only of some.

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