Unit 2, Faust, Part I
Why should you care about what Mephistopheles says in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus? Don't worry, we're here to tell you. When Faustus calls Mephistopheles he's all about his expectation of commanding god-like power. But the response from Mephistopheles acts as a reality-check. It's understandable, then, that Faustus is set on the wrong path by Mephistopheles, who is Satan in human form. Faustus wants not only to achieve magical.
Hans Jonas writes, "surely few admirers of Marlowe's and Goethe's plays have an inkling that their hero is the descendant of a gnostic sectary and that the beautiful Helen called up by his art was once the fallen Thought of God through whose raising mankind was to be saved. Here, a saintly figure makes a bargain with the keeper of the infernal world but is rescued from paying his debt to society through the mercy of the Blessed Virgin.
Faust - Wikipedia
The Polish story seems to have originated at roughly the same time as its German counterpart, yet It is unclear whether the two tales have a common origin or influenced each other. The first known printed source of the legend of Faust is a small chapbook bearing the title Historia von D. Johann Faustenpublished in The book was re-edited and borrowed from throughout the 16th century. Other similar books of that period include: Das Wagnerbuch Dr. Locations linked to the story[ edit ] Staufena town in the extreme southwest of Germany, claims to be where Faust died c.
The only historical source for this tradition is a passage in the Chronik der Grafen von Zimmern, which was written around25 years after Faust's presumed death. These chronicles are generally considered reliable, and in the 16th century there were still family ties between the lords of Staufen and the counts of Zimmern in nearby Donaueschingen. This has led to a measure of speculation as to where precisely his story is set. Christopher Marlowe used this work as the basis for his more ambitious play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus published c.
Goethe's Faust[ edit ] Another important version of the incredible legend is the play Faustwritten by the German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The first part, which is the one more closely connected to the earlier legend, was published inthe second posthumously in Goethe's Faust complicates the simple Christian moral of the original legend.
A hybrid between a play and an extended poem, Goethe's two-part " closet drama " is epic in scope. After cutting his arm, the wound is divinely healed and the Latin words Homo, fuge! Mephistophilis brings coals to break the wound open again, and thus Faustus is able to take his oath written in his own blood.
Wasting his skills[ edit ] Faustus begins by asking Mephistophilis a series of science-related questions. However, the demon seems to be quite evasive and finishes with a Latin phrase, Per inoequalem motum respect totes "through unequal motion with respect to the whole thing".
This sentence has not the slightest scientific value, thus giving the impression that Mephistophilis is untrustworthy.
Faustus then asks who made the world, a question which Mephistophilis refuses to answer Mephistophilis knows that God made the world.
When Faustus announces his intention to renounce magic and repent, Mephistophilis storms away. The good and evil angels return to Faustus: This is the largest fault of Faustus throughout the play: Lucifer, accompanied by Beelzebub and Mephistophilis, appears to Faustus and frightens him into obedience to their pact. Lucifer then, as an entertainment, brings to Faustus the personification of the seven deadly sins.
Faustus fails to see them as warnings and ignores their implication. From this point until the end of the play, although he gains great fame for his powers, Dr. Faustus does nothing worthwhile, having begun his pact with the attitude that he would be able to do anything. Instead, he merely uses his temporary powers for practical jokes and frivolous demonstrations to the nobility.
Finally, with his allotted 24 years mostly expired and realizing that he has given up his soul for no good reason, Faustus appears to scholars and warns them that he is damned and will not be long on the Earth. He gives a speech about how he is damned and eventually seems to repent for his deeds.
Damnation[ edit ] At the end of the play, on the eleventh hour, Mephistophilis comes to collect Faustus' soul and Faustus is dragged off the stage to Hell by Mephistophilis and other devils even though Dr. Faustus tries to repent and beg for mercy from those devils. In the later 'B text' of the play, there is a subsequent scene [V. March Learn how and when to remove this template message The theological implications of Doctor Faustus have been the subject of considerable debate throughout the last century.
Among the most complicated points of contention is whether the play supports or challenges the Calvinist doctrine of absolute predestination, which dominated the lectures and writings of many English scholars in the latter half of the sixteenth century. According to Calvin, predestination meant that God, acting of his own free will, elects some people to be saved and others to be damned—thus, the individual has no control over his own ultimate fate. This doctrine was the source of great controversy because it was seen by the so-called anti-Calvinists to limit man's free will in regard to faith and salvation, and to present a dilemma in terms of theodicy.
At the time Doctor Faustus was performed, this doctrine was on the rise in England, and under the direction of Puritan theologians at Cambridge and Oxford had come to be considered the orthodox position of the Church of England.
His rejection of God and subsequent inability to repent are taken as evidence that he never really belonged to the elect, but rather had been predestined from the very beginning for reprobation. To conclude, they which are most miserable of all, those climb a degree higher, that their fall might be more grievous: But this is plain, that the spirit of adoption, which we have said to be only proper unto them which are never cast forth, but are written in the secret of God's people, is never communicated to them, for were they of the elect they should remain still with the elect.
All these therefore because of necessity, and yet willingly, as they which are under the slavery of sin, return to their vomit, and fall away from faith are plucked up by the roots, to be cast into the fire.
His damnation is justified and deserved because he was never truly adopted among the elect. According to this view, the play demonstrates Calvin's "three-tiered concept of causation," in which the damnation of Faustus is first willed by God, then by Satan, and finally, by himself.
We see therefore that it is no absurdity, that one self act be ascribed to God, to Satan, and to man: One of the greatest critics of Calvinism in Marlowe's day was Peter Barowho argued that such teachings fostered despair among believers, rather than repentance among sinners.
He claimed, in fact, that Calvinism created a theodical dilemma: What shall we say then? That this question so long debated of the Philosophers, most wise men, and yet undetermined, cannot even of Divines, and men endued with heavenly wisdom, be discussed and decided? And that God hath in this case laid a crosse upon learned men, wherein they might perpetually torment themselves?
I cannot so think. For him, the Calvinists were overcomplicating the issues of faith and repentance, and thereby causing great and unnecessary confusion among struggling believers. Faustus himself confesses a similar sentiment regarding predestination: Ay, we must die an everlasting death. What doctrine call you this? Che sera, sera, "What will be, shall be"?
Bryans puts about the scene "Night.
There's a lot of sexual imagery in the scene "Before the City Gate," that takes place on Easter Sunday. We also learn a little more about Faust and his history. Bryans puts about this scene. Bryans puts about the scenes in Faust's Study. What is the relationship between Faust and Mephistopheles? Which one is the optimist and which one is the pessimist? How do the two scenes compare with each other?
How do they compare with Job, Chapter 4? Pay particular attention to the actual bargain between Faust and Mephistopheles: Who do you think will come out on top, Faust or Mephistopheles? Delacroix -The Death of Valentin with your teacher's reflection in the glass, taking the photo For many years, the Gretchen episode was the end of the drama.
In fact, the Berlioz opera Faust is based almost exclusively on Margaret Gretchen. Continue to use Professor Bryan's excellent Study Guide.
Doctor Faustus vs. Mephistopheles, or The Unfair Bargain
His questions will lead you to greater insight on the representations of good and evil in the later scenes of Part One.
Think about the following questions as you read. What does Mephistopheles think of Margaret as a match for Faust? How old is Margaret?