Doctor Faustus

Read Complete Research Material

Doctor Faustus


Doctor Faustus is a short play written by Christopher Marlowe that follows the character of Faustus and his thirst for power and knowledge. In the beginning, Faustus is consumed with the question of what is the profession that will gain the most knowledge. After analyzing logic, law, medicine, and religion he decides that none of these are capable enough of granting the enlightenment that he longs for.

Therefore, he turns to magic and decides that this is the only profession that will answer his inquires. After he makes this vital decision, he agrees to sell his soul to Lucifer for twenty-four years of service from his demon Mephastophilis. Yet, even with all of this power at his finger tips, Dr. Faustus never once uses the powers given to him to gain the knowledge he earned for in the beginning. Instead, he uses the powers for petty reasons and allows his ambitions to take over his ability to make rational decisions (Joost, Pp. 104).


Dr. Faustus could be considered a tragic hero because he allows his lust for power and greed to prevent himself from seeing the destructiveness of his actions. This tragic flaw, or hamartia, is what eventually leads to his downfall, peripeteia, at the end of the show when his soul is carried off to hell with nothing gained in Faustus' favor.

Faustus is also a man of higher of status because of the degree of education that he has received in his life. During this time period, only people who have money or are a part of the wealthy class were able to gain this degree of education. Obviously, Faustus is a man of higher status because of the level of education he was able to receive during his lifetime thus far. Therefore, Dr. Faustus fits the first criteria for a tragic hero according to Aristotle.

The second definition that Aristotle points out is the fact that the main character must have a hamartia or a characteristic flaw. Faustus actually has quite a few flaws that make up his character, but two that stand out the most is his ambition and greed. From the beginning of the play, Faustus's ambition was to gain knowledge through a noble art. Although, it is human nature to want to know more about the world, Faustus allows this ambition to directly affect the outcome of his life. Faustus has already skilled himself ...
Related Ads