Doctor Faustus

Topics: Tragic hero, Good and evil, Sin Pages: 4 (1232 words) Published: February 22, 2005
Remind yourself of scene 5, lines 167 – 280 (pages 31 – 37 in the New Mermaids Edition) from "Now would I have a book…" to the entrance of The Seven Deadly Sins. (In some other editions, this section begins near the end of Act 2 Scene 5 and includes the opening of Act 2 Scene 1.)

What is the importance of this section in the context of the whole play?

In your answer you should consider:
-The dramatic effects created by the Good and Evil Angels
-The language used by Faustus and Mephastophilis.

This section of the play has both an important structural and contextual role in Dr. Faustus. Leading the audience through his doubt and limitations, Faustus begins to realize that his potential for knowledge and power is not half as grand as he expected. This leads him into strong bouts of inner struggle, as shown by the appearance of the good and evil angels on stage. The forces of good and evil start to tear away at Faustus, and he begins the decline into his inventible tragic downfall at the end of the play.

At the start of section, we see Faustus is beginning to use his powers to attain rare and elusive knowledge about our universe, forming elaborate demands, such as; "Now would I have a book where I might see all characters and planets of the heavens, that I might know their motions and dispositions". Of course, the knowledge is granted, but appears to be enclosed in one single-volume book. Faustus sees this as a boundary – another restriction, on the pledge that was supposed to bring him ultimate rewards. He states; "O thou art deceived!",

realising the dissatisfaction, and what he has sacrificed.
It could be said that Marlowe uses this anticlimax to warn the audience not to follow Faustus' ways, emphasizing the fact that it can only bring superficial pleasures and shallow reward.

The section is also characterized by the two appearances of the good and evil angels, which I feel play a significant role in the morality issues the dealt with in the...
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