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“Faustus’ desire to be superhuman leads him to be inhuman”.

To what extent do you agree with this



Topic Sentence: Arguably Faustus’ trivial behaviour through misusing his superhuman powers
presents him as inhuman.

Evidence ACT IV SCENE I: “But I must tell you one thing before you have him: ride him not into the
water, at any hand”.

Topic Sentence: Faustus’ trivial behaviour suggests that he is losing clarity, his intellectual status is
diminishing and he is becoming less human.

Evidence ACT IV SCENE I : Marlow uses shorter end stopped lines to help create sense of aporia and
an impression that Faustus’ life is coming to an end, “Thy fatal time doth draw to final end. Despair
doth drive distrust unto my thoughts”.

Topic Sentence: Faustus proves to have inhuman characteristics, particularly for contemporary
audiences, from the very first scene in which he expresses an inability to understand the basis of
religion- repentance.

Evidence ACT I SCENE I: “The reward of sin is death. That’s hard”. Marlowe’s use of a cadence here
emphasises Faustus’ opinion that sin is “final”. Sinning is something, arguably all humans do, but
Faustus is made inhuman by his inability to understand that one can be forgiven.

Topic Sentence: Faustus can be considered as developing into an inhuman figure because spends his
life either in the company of Devils or alone. Arguably Faustus is socially inept, seeking
Mephistopheles help to get a wife and he has no friends of his own age and status.

Evidence: Faustus spends much of his time pursuing private judgement of learning in his study, “And
this the man that in his study sits”, as was typical to scholars of his day. The use of sibilance
concluding this end stopped line emphasises Faustus’ isolation, a concept that is central to the


Topic Sentence: In can be argued that Faustus is representative of ‘mankind’ or ‘every man’ like the
central protagonists from morality plays. In which case, Faustus is a representation of the human

Evidence: Faustus is an ordinary man, “base of stock” who spends 30 years at Wittenberg University.
Topic Sentence: Faustus continues to posses human characteristics throughout the play, illustrated
by his inability to make decisions, retaining a consistently torn state of mind.

Evidence: “I do repent, and yet I do despair”. The caesura provides the opportunity for a dramatic
pause whilst balancing the antithetical ideas of repentance and the physical state of despair- the
lowest to which man can succumb.

Topic Sentence: All human beings have flaws and arguably Faustus remains human qualities through
his individual flaw of being too proud and arrogant.

Evidence: At the beginning of the play Faustus claims to have mastered the art of logic and calls
himself “conjuror laureate”, using the egocentric third person pronoun, “Faustus”. He believes
himself to be more clever than most, “Sretcheth as far as doth the mind of man” and the cadence his
emphasises Faustus’ desire to push the human mind’s potential.

Topic Sentence: Though Faustus spends the play’s duration in company of the Devil, in the final
scene Faustus still expresses human compassion by dismissing the scholars.

Evidence ACT V SCENE II: “Talk not of me, but save yourselves and depart”. Not only is Faustus
acting with human benevolence towards the scholars, but the use of “me” as opposed to the
egocentric “Faustus” (1.1.1) reflects his loss of scholarly status and his development to an
increasingly human figure.

Topic Sentence: Arguably, Faustus never possesses superhuman powers and therefore his desires
are never actualised.

Evidence: The low comedy scenes as exampled by Act I Scene II provide relief from tensions and
parody Faustus’ action. In Act I Scene IV Wagner and Robin’s (both lower class characters) ability to
conjure devils, “Well, I will cause two devils presently to fetch thee away. -Balioll and Belcher!”,
presents the terror inciting idea that anyone in society can conjure. Therefore, Faustus’ learned
status has not gained him superhuman powers.