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Dr Faustus A Tragic Hero

Q:- Write a note on Marlowe 's conception of the character of


DOCTOR FAUSTUS or Discuss Dr Faustus as a tragic hero OR
"Faustus is no longer an unintelligible magician looked at fro the
outside , but a living man thirsting for the infinite" Discuss. OR
The tragedy which overtakes Faustus is not so much a personal
tragedy but one which overtakes all those who are over-
ambitions.
Ans:- Marlowe's tragic heroes are all titanic figures. They tower
over all the minor characters. His plays are said to be almost one-
man plays Dr. Faustus is the tragic protagonist in Marlowe's play
named after him. Most of the characters in the play are used to
reveal the conflict in the play with reference to Dr Faustus. In this
play there is hardly any external conflict but the inner conflict is
very significant. This inner conflict of Faustus is shown by
introducing the good Angel and the Evil Angel, the devils and the
old man. The good angel always exhorts Dr Faustus to have faith
in god and to repent. Mephistophilis and the evil angel him to
evil. He vacillates between hope and despair, heaven and hell.

The tragedy of Dr Faustus is the tragedy of
presumption. The opening chorus tells us that Dr Faustus had a
hellish fall. It is implied that he has Satanic temperament. This
leads him to his catastrophe. He is not satisfied with just being a
man. He wants to become a god. He does not realize his human
limitations. The last Chorus tells us that wisdom lies in
recognizing one's mortal limitations. The presumption of Faustus
loads him to disaster. Faustus is an over-reacher. His very over-
reaching leads him to his catastrophic end. The first chorus
explicitly says:

"Till swollen with cumming, of a self-conceit
His waxen wings did mount above his reach
And, melting, heavens conspir'd his overthrow".
Tragedy always involves a sensc of waste. Dr Faustus is a learned
man. He has lust for omniscience. He has great potentialities
about which he brags in his first soliloquy. He says that he is
'level at the end of every art'. He attempts and to great extent,
wins glory through the art of necromancy. But because of his
presumption, he meets his tragedy. We pity the fall of a man of
great potentialities. As the last chorus states:-
"Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
And burned is Appllo's laurel-bough,
That sometimes grew within this learned man".
His fall is suggested in his own statement, " this night I will
conjure, though I die therefore. "In a way, we can read "poetic
justice" in the tragedy of Dr Faustus. However, his fall invokes
pity and terror. By the end of the play we begin to pity Dr
Faustus. He is terrified by his impending damnation. He is
conscious that he has but one hour to live and then he must be
dammed perpetually. The last soliloquy of Dr Faustus is heart
rending:
"Curs'd be the parents that engender'd me.
No, Faustus, curse thyself , cuse Lucifer.
That hath deprived thee of the joys of heaven."
When the Devils enter, terror strikes the very soul of Dr. Faustus,
"My God, my god, look not so fierce on me.
Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while.
Ugly hell, gape not, come not Lucifer.
I'll burn my books, Ah, Mephistophilis."

Marlowe has humanized tragedy. Faustus is not born a great man.
He is german doctor, an ordinary man of great potentialities and
high aspirations. The character of Dr Faustus has universal
appeal. Faustus symbolizes the aspirations and limitations of
humanity. Dr Faustus is, therefore, the tragedy of humanity . it is
a tragedy of every man who is over-ambitios.
In way the tragedy of Dr Faustus is the tragedy of the
Renaisance without the Reformation. The Reformation stressed
the relationship between the individual soul and God Faustus
breaks this relationship. Th eReformation also laid stress on the
mercy of God but Faustus does not repent. He does not call for
the mercy of God. Even when he names God or Chirst, it is
merely an out cry . So Faustus is lost in the Renaissance
voluptuousness He abjures faith in God.

To sum up, like all Marlowe's tragic heroes, Dr Faustus is a
representative of the Renaissane sprit. This spirit coloured the
thoughts of the men of his age. He is truly heroic in his
dimensions though he is not a man of virtue and morality. He is
the incarnation of unbridled power superhuman energy and
soaring ambition