Do you think tragic irresolution is the strength of Doctor Faustus?

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swd337 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Faustus' hesitancy is likely not a strength of his, per se, but it does reveal the inner turmoil that Faustus deals with when deciding which decision will ultimately bring him the most fulfillment. On one hand, he can join Lucifer by selling his soul, and be served for a 24 year period by Lucifer's top demon Mephistopheles. On the other hand, he can live a normal life void of magical powers and attempt to find satisfaction in divinity, which was his area of study beforehand. The point of the play, of course, is that Faustus, being human, is so enamored by the lure of great power that he gives in to Lucifer's temptation and ultimately seals his fate to fall eternally into hell. But Faustus' hesitation to make a decision is clearly one of the most tragic parts of the play. We watch him slowly slipping into the hands of the devil. At one point he says, "My heart is so hardened I cannot repent!" While Faustus is later given the chance to repent again, he doesn't take it.