The Faustian Icarus Complex

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Adolfo J. Lopez
British Literature
Mr. Lafleur
March 8, 2012
The Faustian Icarus Complex

“Till swolne with cunning of a selfe conceit, His waxen wings did mount above his reach and melting heavens conspired his overthrow”. (Marlowe, 3) These are one of the opening words from the entering chorus to Christopher Marlowe’s “The tragical history of Dr. Faust”. Nevertheless, it is the explicit foreshadowing of the psychological and moral heel of Achilles which causes Dr. Faust’s fall to damnation. Marlowe did a great job in comparing Faust’s life with the flight and fall of the mythological Icarus. Both men were devoured by their inner unconformist nature which gets corrupted by power in search of soaring like the Gods, as well as their self-destructive pride and feeble human condition. In Icarus’ case he loses his life in a flashing moment, on the other hand, Faust walks slowly into the rabbit hole loosing bit by bit every piece that made him who he was. He was fooled by his rennaissantistic nature which led him to deny God in the presence of his guidance, lured by the vain ores of this world and God’s antagonistic counterpart he forfeits the Heavens; ironically he loses complete sight of his initial grandiose ambitions to the corrupting fangs of power which penetrated deep into his heart. Even though Faust is recognized and known as a Doctor, Philosopher, Scientist, Botanist, and highly intellectual, one can feel a void in Faust’s heart regarding his human condition and the knowledge of the world which he deems as inaccurate due to human providence, “Are not thy bills hung up as monuments, whereby whole cities have escaped the plague . . . Yet art though still but Faustus, and a man.” (Marlowe, 5) This along with his toil and strain over the delusive destiny of one’s soul in search of salvation induces him to discard all previous knowledge and status in lust of obtaining supernatural powers beyond God’s set human limitations. He does so by pledging his soul...
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