Read the following passage from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Discuss Marlowe’s use of language in this passage and how it contributes to the characterisation of Faustus. (Act 5, Scene 2)
Written in blank verse iambic pentameter; non-rhyming lines of ten stressed syllables, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is a morality play, a warning of what befalls those that deal with the devil. Faustus is introduced by the Chorus, a man who through scholarly pursuit has achieved much despite his upbringing; yet through his unbridled pride he will shortly set out on a path of destruction. He is metaphorically compared to Icarus who flying on wings of feathers and wax plunged to his death when flying too close to the sun, his wax melted. This portrays Faustus as over-reaching; having aspirations beyond those humanly possible, he dreams of achieving deity-hood ‘a mighty god’ (1.1. 64) through the study of necromancy even at the cost of his soul. With this power Faustus will ‘make spirits fetch’, ‘resolve … all ambiguities’, ‘perform what … enterprise I will’ (1.1.81-83); he wants control, commanding the spirit-world, all questions answered, every desire fulfilled, Faustus thirst will be sated. The evil angel promises he will be as god on earth ‘be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky’ and ‘lord and commander of these elements’ (1.1.78-79). Faustus’ character is that of a selfish, arrogant, egotistical, overly ambitious man, dissatisfied with his lot he seeks to fill his insatiable lust for power by naïvely gifting his eternal soul for what he believes is ultimate power. This is in stark contrast to Faustus in his final hour. Gone is commander of kings, ruler of lands instead we find a pitiful wretch, lamenting the fate that awaits him, pleading, desperate and imploring aid from wherever it may be found. Spoken in the third person, Faustus makes futile attempts to prolong his life. ‘One bare hour’ (5.2.67) gives an impression of finality, monosyllabic each word sounds like...
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