Doctor Faustus is the most famous play of Christopher Marlowe and this play alone has perhaps made that his name will be mortal in the history of English literature and English drama. This play shows that he was of high skilled as a playwright and he could write very good drama. It is a tragedy of Doctor Faustus that is the main point of this play.
Before moving on further, we should discuss about the definition of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is obviously a hero of a tragedy drama. However, this is not enough. Perhaps the first tragic hero in history of drama is Oedipus in ‘Oedipus Rex’ of Sophocles. There we could find that Oedipus in the end suffers tragic consequence but he was higher than ordinary people. This matter is very important. A hero of the tragedy should not be an ordinary man but should be some higher and extra ordinary. He is exceptional than other people.
From this point of view, perhaps we can say that Doctor Faustus is a good example of tragic hero. If we look at the opening scene then we will notice that he was unhappy because he grew tired of life. He was a scholar and he wanted new knowledge. He got all the knowledge but except black magic. He realized that he did not have all the knowledge and there was something missing. So, he sought the new knowledge and he was not afraid of it. He was also not afraid of anything a deal with Lucifer and Mephistopheles.
After Doctor Faustus could make a deal with Mephistopheles then he started to enjoy all the knowledge but the main problem is that instead of gaining more knowledge, he became hungry for power. He wanted to be the boss of everyone and he wanted that other obey him. This is the thing that ultimately leads him into the tragedy. This is the thing that perhaps also takes away the sympathy from the audience.
I think that the main problem of Doctor Faustus is that he was proud and he was greedy. Although, he was thirsty for knowledge but in his character, there was a mixture of knowledge and power both. He was not happy along with knowledge but he wanted to become the dominant person. That is why, I think that his tragic flow was pride and thirst. He was also very proud and not satisfied with the things he got. His pride makes him abnormal and this way he wanted to make a deal with the devil despite knowing after a certain period of time his soul will be captured and he will suffer eternal damnation. The last scene perhaps disappoints the audience because there we can find that Doctor Faustus hopeless and desperate. He wanted to get back his belief on god and Jesus Christ. He regretted a lot why he made the deal with Lucifer. He perhaps wanted another chance from god. It is clear that if he got another chance or opportunity from god then he would not waste it and he would denounced Lucifer and come back into the way of god.
I think that Doctor Faustus is a renaissance tragic hero. Like many other people in renaissance time, he had the desire to go beyond the limit of knowledge and religion. He also challenged religion but in the end he could not win over religion. The struggle between religion and the new class of educated people who were secular by nature is perhaps the main theme of renaissance. Thus, I think that Doctor Faustus was a renaissance tragic hero.