Tyler Morrissette, Brit lit final paper, 12/04/18
Dr. Faustus and the uncontrollable power of greed and pride
Many people believe that the main sin of doctor faustus is lust. They believe that his lust and sexual desires for women was so bad it's what got him to sign his soul to the devil. However, I am going to push back on that and say that marlow was not talking about lust but pride and greediness. More specifically humanities greedy nature for wealth and power and the dissatisfaction of being a human being. He does this with Dr. Faustus tragic life though the use of his insatiable desire for knowledge, power, wealth and his pride and arrogance toward god/ repentance. Which leads him to signing his soul to the devil and ultimately serving eternal damnation in hell.
In the prologue the chorus states “ Till swollen with cunning of a self conceit”(1.0.20). Faustus is so proud of all that he has accomplished that has become conceited. The chorus continues by comparing him to icarus by stating “his waxing wings… his overthrow”(1.0.21-22). Icarus was very prideful and tried to fly high in the sky until his wings melted and he fell to his death. First, this is foreshadowing Faustus fall due to his pride. Second, this could be alluding to lucifer and his fall from heaven due to the sin of pride.
The sin of greed can be seen early on as well in the very first scene of the play. As a very intelligent person Faustus can do anything he wants in the world, Yet remains incontinent with his life even with superior knowledge and desires more through the use of dark magic as he tells us the pro and cons of each profession. As he talks about pursuing medicine he states “ Be a physician… to life again”(1.1.14-25). As he talks about being a doctor, it seems that the only reasons he would become one is to attain wealth and power. This seems pretty greedy and proud since most people become doctors to help others and not just themselves. In addition, Faustus dreams of what he could do in the world with magic such as bringing people back from the dead. Faustus only goal in life is to have the ability to change the world which is not only evil but just selfish. All if this ultimately leads him to choosing magic as his new profession.
Continuing on though the beginning of the play we see Faustus thinking if all the things he can do with magic. This leads us from his desire of knowledge to his desire of power and wealth. As Faustus talks about what he will do with magic he states “ How am I… to invent”(1.1.79-98). Here, we already see magic tempting Faustus and turning him against god. He is greedly thinking about all the wealth and power that he could attain through the use of spirit conjured up by his magic. Yet it is interesting though since he does talk about helping scholars enjoy the luxurious in life which shows how much of a complex character he...