Doctor Faustus is the most famous drama of Christopher Marlowe. Christopher Marlowe belonged to the Elizabethan age and he was one of the top dramatists of his age. He did not write a lot of plays but all his plays are of high quality and he can be easily compared with his contemporary Williams Shakespeare. If you read Doctor Faustus then you will understand that he was in no way a lesser dramatist than Shakespeare. In Doctor Faustus, we can find renaissance elements and many people think that Doctor Faustus is a renaissance man. I think that it has both renaissance and anti-renaissance elements. However, mostly it has renaissance elements and just one or two anti-renaissance elements.
The word renaissance means rebirth. Here, it means rebirth of classical knowledge of
If we look at the character of Doctor Faustus then the first thing we can find about him is that he was a scholar. He valued knowledge more than everything else. He was not satisfied with the knowledge he acquired. He wanted to gather more knowledge. This thirst in him is a very important renaissance element. Renaissance spirit was to gather knowledge, people should sacrifice their life.
Renaissance also praised individualism in stead of society. Faustus was an individualistic type of hero. He did not care for what others thought or what the society said. In stead he wanted to have his own ideas and challenge others. It is not that he was always right but he had individualistic ideas all the way in the drama.
I have stated earlier that renaissance challenged the supremacy of Catholic pope in
A very important renaissance element was an appreciation of beauty and art. When Faustus became very powerful then he wanted to have a very beautiful wife and he selected Helen from Greek mythology. We know that Helen was the most beautiful woman in Ancient Greece and for her the battle between
There are some anti-renaissance elements that we can see in Doctor Faustus. Well, what we can see is that after he became very powerful he started to use his power for very small things. For example, he started to use his power to often nonsense and useless people. He turned the people he did not like as animals. This was not a good thing. He also became greedy for money and luxury. He did not give that much importance for knowledge for which his soul is sold. In stead, he spent his life for luxury and this is against the renaissance spirit.
Perhaps the most anti-renaissance element in Doctor Faustus is the death scene. When he was dying, he became very coward and he forgot everything and he wanted to get the forgiveness of god. He wanted to again come back to religion and Christianity. It was he who fought against the Christian ideas and made fun with religion but when death came to him he became very afraid.
Of course, it is natural because when a person is dying then he becomes very afraid. And secondly, if he was shown that he was not afraid of death and accepted death easily and did not care of Christianity then the audience of Christopher Marlowe’s time would become angry. Christopher Marlowe would have suffered from the Church that he was against Christianity. So, we have to think of the time that Christopher Marlowe wrote the drama.In conclusion, I like to say that Doctor Faustus was a renaissance man and we have to remember the contribution of the scholars who dedicated their lives for bringing renaissance in