In Christopher Marlowe's play, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, written around 1590, the protagonist, Doctor Faustus, suffers from what the ancient Greek philosophers and playwrights called hubris—excessive pride. The tragic flaw of hubris proved to be the downfall of many Greek tragic heroes, as it proves to be downfall of Faustus. Everything that Faustus does in the play flows from his excessive pride.
Faustus is a man who possesses extreme intelligence. Faustus has learned everything there is to know about logic, law, science, and theology, and finds the continued pursuit of each of these disciplines unfulfilling and a waste of his time. None of these disciplines sufficiently challenges his intelligence, and he believes that only the dark arts, necromancy and magic, can satisfy his overwhelming desire for knowledge, power, fame, and money.
Faustus engages the services of Valdes and Cornelius to teach him the dark arts, but their knowledge is far too limited to...
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