Dr Faustus: Context (AO4)

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  • Doctor Faustus: Context
    • Religion
      • In 1534 Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church in Rome. The King then went on to establish his own church, the Protestant Church. This was part of the wider Reformation.
      • Martin Luther was a German monk who became a leading figure in the Reformation. Luther taught at the university in Wittenburg 1508. This links Faustus to rebellion against authority.
    • The Form of Tragedy
      • Marlowe uses a Chorus which is characteristic of the Greek tragedies. But the chorus also passes judgements on Faustus to remind the audien.ce that it is a Morality play
    • The Renaissance Era (rebirth). This occurred between the 14th to the 17th Century.
      • Revival of Greek and Roman culture. Logic was central to thinking as the philosophies of the likes of Aristotle etc. were rediscovered as opposed to the emphasis on belief in the Medieval Era. Thoughts were focused on the individual and what it means to be human.
      • Aristotle: -focus on teleos (end or purpose) "Is to dispute well logic's chiefest end?...Then read no more, thou hast attained that end” scene 1, Faustus
      • Greek mythology gained popularity and the figure of Icarus became iconic. "His waxen wings did mount above his reach, And melting, heavens conspired his overthrow, For falling to a devilish exercise"
      • Icarus drowned because he over reached himself, this analogy foreshadows that Faustus too will cause his downfall in his attempt to "gain a deity". The heavens conspiring his overthrow also questions God's nature, suggesting He is a vengeful God and not forgiving as the good Angels claim. 
    • A Time of New Discoveries
      • There were advancement in technology and views about the nature of the universe were changing. First British colony in America was established, Virginia in 1584.


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