Thursday, November 19, 2009

Final scene of Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus is the best play of Christopher Marlowe. Doctor Faustus perhaps shows that why Christopher Marlowe is sometimes compared with William Shakespeare despite the fact that Marlowe wrote much fewer numbers of plays than Shakespeare. The final scene is an interesting one and it is totally different from the rest of the drama. In the final scene we find a very different Faustus and he is ready to repent to god but it is too late. So, it is totally opposite from what we have seen from the beginning until to the last moment in the play. Thus it creates an interesting fact on the audience of the play.

In the final scene, we find a soliloquy of Faustus. He has only one hour to live. It was eleven O’clock at night and after one hour the devil will capture his soul and he will be damned forever. In other words, he will go to hell forever and he will suffer. He understands that whatever he enjoyed will be lost now. So, he became too much afraid. He also losses hope.

He tries to pray to god but he can not. He has done so big sin that it has become impossible to pray to god or get the forgiveness from god. He also tries to pray to Jesus Christ but he understands that his heart can not do it very well. After thirty minutes gone then he became more afraid. He thinks of Pythagorian philosophy in which it is stated that after the death of a person the soul enters into the life of a beast. He hopes that this philosophy was true and this way he would not suffer but his soul would go to the body of a beast. He thought that the beasts have no pain and no suffering. They have no sorrow. This way he wanted to save himself at any cost.

Whatever Doctor Faustus tried, he grew more desperate and he lost more hope. He understood that there is nothing for him and he must suffer. However, it is difficult for him to accept it. Here, Marlowe has shown that every man has the same mentality. We all are afraid to die. Even the person who knows that he has only six months left is afraid to die and does not want to die. We all think that we can live and we don’t want to think of death. However, for Faustus, it was very tragic and it was very painful. He knew when he would die. One of the good parts of human being like us is that we do not know when death will capture us. This way, there is an uncertainty and we can remain happy and we can feel that may be death will not this year or next year. However, for Faustus it is quite opposite. His perhaps the greatest punishment was that he knew when he would die.

Christopher Marlowe here has dealt with psychology of Faustus very well. The knowledge of Faustus was the source of his all happiness. He got power and all knowledge became under his capacity. However, in the end, the knowledge of the timing of his death became the ultimate source of his sadness.

After Doctor Faustus dies, the chorus gives us the moral lesson of the play. Moral lesson is that we should not be too much obsessed with illegal things and we should try to follow religion. Here, by religion, the chorus has meant Christianity not any other religion. Any way, Christopher Marlowe has perhaps accepted Christianity but at the same time he showed the renaissance spirit when Doctor Faustus talked about the philosophy of Pythagoras. We know that one of the renaissance elements was Greek classical philosophy and literature. Doctor Faustus knows he will die and when he is dying he praises to god and Jesus Christ but at the same time he remembers Greek philosophy.

The soliloquy of Faustus is perhaps one of the best in Elizabethan drama. Here, we find very good analysis of human psychology by Christopher Marlowe.


  1. nice essay. Thanx for sharing it with us.

  2. Anonymous10:18 PM is useful

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  5. Thanks a lot for sharing

  6. radhika6:29 PM

    By comparing the essay with a real world u hav made it useful thanks alot

  7. The final scene of Dr. Faustus is one of my favorites in literature. The way he tries to repent, how Mephistopheles tries to deviate him, how everything comes to an end with Faustus dragged to deeper chasms of Hell. The chorus gives a wonderful message in the end and I think that venturing too far into the dark side is a temptation that man cannot resist, especially if the man has knowledge but no wisdom.