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1. Idea of Sin= contrary to the will of God

• Knowledge is power-seeks (with knowledge about scriptures- wants to defeat God but ignorant of

• Pact with Lucifer “Deed of Gift” symbolizing the permanent nature of this pact-symbol of sin
(ultimate sin-disobey God-obedience and allegiance to devil)----signed by blood –for Faustus blood
clotting some sign body’ unwillingness to give up his soul—for Lucifer physical representation of
Faustus's soul.

• Christian framework (worst deed can be forgiven through redemptive power of Christ-ask God’
forgiveness) ---blood Christian belief –sacrifice of christ on cross for humans to repent and be saved

2. Redemption

• Considers repenting- good angel and old man(emmisaries of God and personifications of Faustus’
conscience)---a)Old man eternal life after death-b)escape devils only by obeying God-c)External
religious figures like Pope only external religious figures-devoted to God only conceptually while old
man one with God- unharmed by devils as he is internally one with God-true Christian faith

• Loyal to hell than seek heaven (repents at the end of his life-incapable of being redeemed)

3. Damnation

• 7 deadly sins- questions his worth to repent-afraid of the sins he has committed

• Christian allegory= if you disobey God you’re creating your own hell

• Marlowe steps outside Christian worldview at the end- different universe where redemption not
possible- certain sins cannot be forgiven


Clash between medieval and Renaissance—ambigous

Medieval view

• Theology (God at the center of existence not man and the natural world)

• Man’ position made by God-remain content—ambition great sin of pride (eg: Lucifer’ fall)

Medieval Interpretation= Medieval hero

• Desire for forbidden knowledge—magic and supernatural power only God-- grand ambitions
become petty tricks

• Standpoint= 1)deserves punishment-act of justice 2)morality than tragedy 3)chorus reminds

audience to learn from Faustus’ damnation
Renaissance view

• Secular matters --Faustus despite being a magician than scientist rejects medieval models

• Marlowe and others (not traditionalist) interested in classical knowledge of Greece and the
humanism of the past—great potential and possibility of humanity

Renaissance interpretation= Renaissance hero

• Opening speech=major fields of human knowledge with ancient pioneers—logic(Aristotle),

medicine(Galen), law(Justinian), and theology(Jerome’s Bible)—rejects all these for magic= break
from medieval(authority) to Renaissance spirit (free enquiry, experimentation and quest for
knowledge, wealth, and power)

• Desire for enlightenment--rebels medieval limits by pact of knowledge and power---Willing to

chance damnation--transcend humanity‘ limitations and rise

• Standpoint=1)damnation for noble attempts---tragedy 2) modern world hero free of God, religion,
and the limits imposed on humanity


• Choice and consequence—body over soul and no repentance

• Based on protestant rules—should obey God can rebel against religious system-no intermediate

• Sins-pride(status of God, all powerful), ambition(earthly powers) and unlimited


• Chorus

• Emissaries of God

• Good angel and bad angel-characteristic of traditional morality plays characters can talk but not
seen in this play—represents mind(both heaven and hell exists in our mind)

• Heaven and hell

• Appearance of 7 sins as characters

• Tempts Faustus from repenting—Mephi and lucifer cannot enter heaven


1. satisfy his thirst for greater knowledge= experiments in necromancy

2. contract by which he will receive twenty-four years of service from Mephistophilis and, at the end
of this time, will relinquish his soul to Lucifer
3. First= acts for humanity—later nonsensical tricks-destruction

4. Thinks about repentance but remains with Mephistophilis and Lucifer

5. Final-scholars want him to repent—only repents on seeing devils—no use can only scream at his

The Character of Mephistophilis and the Concept of Hell

• Physical appearance of Mephistophilis = the ugliness of hell itself--(Faustus forgets devils’ natural
appearance till the end when devils come to carry his soul)

• Concepts of freedom and bondage—

a)no one is free in this universe—physical freedom may exist but not moral
b) Mephistophilis is not free to serve Faustus unless he has Lucifer's permission
c) Faustus bonded to Lucifer through pact

• Mephistophilis functions as the representative of hell and Lucifer

a)experiencing suffering and damnation as a fallen angel
b) tormented by ten thousand hells because he had once tasted the bliss of heaven
c)nature of hell--Mephistophilis reveals--
hell is not a place, but a condition or state of being--- Any place without God is hell(medieval as
well as Anglican church concepts)

• Faustus’ contemplation of eternal damnation and appearance of devils—

1)images of hell--ugly devils
2)unrepentant sinner --severe punishment


 Basic desire= never be slave to anything; master over everything

1. Servant-master relationship (Mephi, Faustus, Lucifer)

• Mephistophilis becomes servant for 24 years for his soul(paradox= soul sold not free)

• No true freedom- everything is under something-Mephi works for Lucifer

2. Servant-master relationship (Faustus, Wagner)

• Wagner tries to imitate his master– comic device—makes clown his servant(another servant-
master relationship)

3. Servant-master relationship (Robin, Ralph)

• Robin gets one of Faustus' conjuring books and tries to force Ralph to become his servant.

 actions of the master influence the behavior and destiny of the servant