Analyze Doctor Faustus in terms of the tragic flaw theory of character development.

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ecofan74 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The character of Doctor Faustus certainly coincides well with the tragic flaw theory of character development.   From the opening lines, the reader already gets a sense that Faustus has an insatiable desire to attain knowledge which will confer power on him.  His desire for this knowledge, particularly his view that he is entitled to it, is his tragic flaw.  As his character develops, the reader is meant to understand the corruption that inevitably coincides with the pursuit of such knowledge, as well as the blindness to potential consequences.

The last lines of the play effectively summarize the lesson to be learned - a lesson which springs from the outcome of Faustus's tragic flaw.  He aspires to too much, and in doing so he gets what is rightfully his.  An excess of anything becomes a bad thing.  Faustus's excess pride and intellectual curiosity ultimately consign him to hell.


mahirbarut | Student

In the ancient drama , pratogonist was presented at the beginning of the play initially as noble and hero with high sipirit talents one is superior to society and in  extraordinary unusual situations. So mediaval drama on the course of precedeing further, directly inherits many of this fundamental characteristics and therefore many parts are seem to be survived from greek tragedy on development.  But Christopher Marlowe brings us a new genre of this tragedy with a great step on the frame of tragedy for Ren.

Marlowe also uses this typical medival spirits in doctor Faustus but the pratogonist of the play diverges from his conventional similars of the tradional canon with his different stance.

This new stance of the pratogonist clearly reinforces  the spirit of renaissance man.  Doctor Faustus is presented us firstly as common man amoung the masses, amoung us. This aproach helps the fundemantal needs prepare for the development of the beginning of the renassaince spirits. And it serves successfully its purpose because Faustus, he represents or Marlowe’s purpose in this presentation of the pratogonist most possible refers to the early artists and researchers of the renaissance  and the moral lesson which gave us is  one that expresses the dangerous results of accessive ambitions and learning by the deflection from the way of God.

And also this new pratogonist is slightly different with his starting point to action in its frame. His character doesnt fall decay just as the classical hero from a high position to  lower, miserable way. Instead of it he starts from a common point and so  immediatly reach its climax and then shifts to lower and failure but this tragic fall is not caused by destiny, fate, the pratogonist falls decay because of common human frailties, human mistakes. At this point;

Doctor faustus also inherits much from medieval morality plays ( so it means to include greek tragedy)

This different frame reflects us some differences and similarities , these are;

*Hubris: İt is term used in modern English to indicate overweening pride,superciliousness, or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution. Hurbis is destructive pride and tragic fall Faustus fails to pay attention to his friends, old man and the angel on the part of God.

* Hamartia: The term refers to the characters’ flaw and errors. The Hero might attempt to achieve a certain goal x by making an error in judgment, however the hero instead of it directly runs into its opposite with a disastrous consequances. Faustus is making a pact with a devıl angel to achieve his goal, but miserablely faces with its opposite of his goal

*Catharsis: Verb “ cleanse” means to remove everything that is bad or immoral from a person’s character –like purify. Faustus gives the spectator with fear and pity a moral lesson. He tells us that we are more open such kind of errors so we should be ready to face with such failures because human being always is capable and in a fit state to commit such errors because of his nature.