What are the parallels between Doctor Faustus and Lucifer?

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The most striking parallel between Lucifer and Doctor Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is that Lucifer and Faustus are their own worst enemies. Lucifer is in hell and Faustus is bound for hell for the same self-determined reasons: excessive...

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The most striking parallel between Lucifer and Doctor Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is that Lucifer and Faustus are their own worst enemies. Lucifer is in hell and Faustus is bound for hell for the same self-determined reasons: excessive pride and all-consuming ambition.

Lucifer was God's greatest creation, but Lucifer was extremely prideful. He was overly impressed by his own beauty and intelligence, and he became covetous of God's power and glory.

“You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.....

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor... (New King James Version, 1982, Ezekiel 28:12,15, 17).

Lucifer's pride and ambition cause God to cast him out of heaven.

“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High’ (NKJV, Isaiah 14:12-14).

Marlowe tells the same story in Doctor Faustus.

FAUSTUS. ...Tell me what is that Lucifer thy lord?

MEPHISTOPHILIS. Arch-regent and commander of all spirits.

FAUSTUS. Was not that Lucifer an angel once?

MEPHISTOPHILIS. Yes, Faustus, and most dearly lov'd of God.

FAUSTUS. How comes it then that he is prince of devils?

MEPHISTOPHILIS. O, by aspiring pride and insolence;
For which God threw him from the face of Heaven. (Scene 2, 66-72)

Lucifer thus can be said to have committed the original sin. The sin of pride originated with Lucifer, and he made a choice, using his own free will, to rebel against the will of God. This proved to be Lucifer's downfall.

Doctor Faustus is a man of extreme intelligence and knowledge, and he's also a man of extreme pride and ambition. Faustus has mastered logic, law, science, and theology, but he finds these disciplines ultimately unrewarding and unfulfilling.

Faustus believes that only necromancy and magic can help satisfy his overwhelming desire for knowledge, power, fame, and money. His pursuit of "the work of the devil" leads him to make a choice to sell his soul to the devil himself.

Pride and ambition prove to be Faustus's downfall. Thus, Lucifer and Faustus share the same fate because they share the same tragic flaws.

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Both Dr. Faustus and Lucifer were previously in possession of very valuable things, but they were not satisfied with those things and chose to sacrifice their moral status in order to obtain more. Lucifer was in heaven, which Mephistophilis describes as "everlasting bliss," but he was not content, because he was subordinate to God. So he rebelled and ended up the ruler of hell. Dr. Faustus had a wealth of knowledge, as he listed in his opening monologue. He also had a soul that was his own. But he wanted supernatural powers, so he chose to sell his soul to the devil in order to gain these powers and to obtain more knowledge. In both cases, too, the play suggests that the bargain made was not worth it. Faustus's activities after selling his soul are mundane—playing tricks on the Pope, bringing a pregnant Duchess grapes, etc. Lucifer is always trying to gain new souls and always missing heaven, so he is no more content than he was there, if not even less. Thus, both Lucifer and Dr. Faustus gave away something incredibly valuable for something that turned out not to be worth the sacrifice they made.

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In Christian theology, Lucifer, of course, is the angel banished by God from heaven for seeking power, for wishing to usurp the authority of God. In Marlowe's play, Faustus also wishes to achieve power and knowledge exceeding the limits given to man by God. The Faust legend, in Marlowe's treatment, is thus a kind of earthly retelling of the expulsion from heaven of the angel Lucifer who becomes the devil, Satan.

It's understandable, then, that Faustus is set on the wrong path by Mephistopheles, who is Satan in human form. Faustus wants not only to achieve magical, superhuman powers but also—and here is where he differs from the portrayal of the devil in Scripture—to achieve a fulfillment, both intellectual and physical, which has been absent from normal human life. His encounter with Helen of Troy is emblematic of this striving for an "ultimate" experience. Though the story is placed in a supernatural context, in which Faustus has "sold his soul" to the devil and knows that he is condemned to hell, it is really an existential dilemma which propels the action. Faustus, in spite of his parallel with Satan, is a symbol of man's wish to break free of his limitations and to find, or to create, the "meaning" he cannot feel in ordinary daily experience. This aspect of the Faust story was developed more fully by Goethe two hundred years after Marlowe, but both playwrights are dealing with essentially the same theme. Goethe knew Marlowe's play well and acknowledged its influence upon him.

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One can draw many parallels between the protagonist Doctor Faustus of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Lucifer/Satan of Milton’s The Paradise Lost. Most importantly, we see that the tragic downfall of Doctor Faustus and fall of Lucifer from heaven embrace a similar course.

Lucifer (also called as the Angel of light) was once the most loved Angel of God. He was very powerful and quite superior to other Angels. But he sinned. His powers made him limitlessly proud. He wished to outshine God and gain his position. He was thrown out from heaven to hell in the end. His arrogance distances him from God’s grace and leads to his misery.

Doctor Faustus is also shown to be a learned, educated and intelligent man. His academia knowledge set him soar high but makes him repulsively proud. Not only that, his lust for black arts, necromancy, and occult is forbidden. His extreme pride or hubris is followed by several other deadly sins like gluttony, lechery, etc., which lead to his damnation.

Thus, we see both Doctor Faustus and Lucifer have limitless quest of greater power, status, respect and control. And these big, insatiable aspirations and perfection finally lead to their tragic demise. Both Lucifer and Doctor Faustus are drawn to eternal punishment of hell and separation from God’s love in the end.

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