Why is it important to read Doctor Faustus in the twenty-first century? Explain your answer.

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Christopher Marlowe's play, Doctor Faustus, tells the story of a man who, bored with conventional forms of knowledge, begins to study necromancy. He then sells his soul to the devil in exchange for twenty-four years of limitless power. The eponymous Doctor Faustus becomes intoxicated with his limitless power. He abuses that power and becomes morally corrupt because of those abuses.

Doctor Faustus is still a significant and relevant play in the twenty-first century because the world is still shaped by powerful people who abuse their power. President Donald Trump has recently been impeached by the House of Representatives for abusing the power granted to him by the office of the President. He is accused of pressuring the Ukranian President into investigating his rival from the Democratic Party, Joe Biden.

One of the other main themes in Doctor Faustus is the theme of knowledge. Doctor Faustus has an insatiable appetite for supernatural knowledge. He wants to know how to "make men to live eternally," and he wants to be "eterniz'd for some wondrous cure." It is his appetite for such unearthly knowledge that catalyzes his downfall. In the twenty-first century, there are plenty of examples whereby the relentless pursuit for knowledge might be deemed dangerous or tragic. Military weapons, for example, are becoming more and more deadly because of improving scientific and technological knowledge. Some may also argue that advanced knowledge of the human genome is dangerous, as it opens up possibilities for genetic engineering and eugenics. We are becoming more aware too of mass surveillance programs, whereby governments have access to a huge amount of knowledge about the private lives of their citizens.

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