Themes in Dr. Faustus

Overview of themes in Dr. Faustus.

  • Created by: Becca
  • Created on: 09-03-10 10:44

Themes present in Dr. Faustus

Atheism: Faustus has been described to be an atheist like Marlowe and the conflict between belief and unbelief is a dominant theme in the play, permeating plot, dialogue and imagery. Atheism in broken down into two categories: denying the existence of God and the other denying the goodness of God. At various points Faustus asserts or implies that God doesnt exist: There is no chief but Belzebub. Faustus ambition to be a god: try brains to gain deity marks him with the deadly sin of hubris or pride. But despite his sceptism in God, he appears to believe that he posses as soul thus subscribing to some aspects of theology. Faustus' beliefs are generally unstable and shifting: Now Faustus, Must thou needs be damned And canst thou not be saved / Despair in God, and trust in Belzebub.

He tries out his opinions and his mind moves like a pendulum shifting from one to extreme to the other.

Faustus' disbelief in God is accompanied, for a time, by an associated disbelief in hell. Meph. encourages this disbelief with the partial truth that hell is the state of mind of being without God.

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Themes present in Dr. Faustus

Atheism cont: By the end Faustus has come to believe in God but it is too late for him to repent. It also appears that repentance and damnation are the same thing for Faustus since only belief brings him the understanding that generates the pain of damnation. In presenting the idea that belief and repentance have come to late, the play itself appears to deny the doctrine of God's absolute goodness.

In his last hour, Faustus sees an angry and unforgiving God, who is as controlled by the 24 years time structure as Faustus. This paradoxical image of God who is both in control of all things and yet not in control because he must keep his contractual obligations can be problamatic - this is why Faustus could be seen as promoting atheism.

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Themes present in Dr. Faustus.

Religion in Dr. Faustus:

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