How do the prologue and epilogue in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus both embody and problematize the central message of the play? 

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If one had to say that Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus had any “central message,” one might argue that that message is this: avoid excessive pride and always be obedient to God.  This message is plainly stated both in the prologue to the play and in the epilogue as well. Thus, the prologue compares Faustus to Icarus, the self-destructive figure of ancient Greek myth who made wings of wax and then flew too near the sun. The wax melted, and Icarus died after he fell into the sea. In the prologue, Faustus is explicitly likened to Icarus. Faustus became

. . . swollen with cunning, of a self-conceit, [so that]

His waxen wings did mount above his reach,

And melting heavens conspired his overthrow....

(The entire section contains 358 words.)

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