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西洋文化の中のドラマを履修したときのウィークリー・レクチャー・ジャーナルのLog3とLog4で内容は16世紀ヨーロッパの政治と社会そしてファウスタス博士です。

Journal Log #3 & Log #4HEADLINE

Log #3 for Week 3, January 21-25

Changing Political and Social Contexts:
On Wednesday, Professor Luciano gave us a lecture on major changes in political and social contexts in the Late Middle Ages (1300-1500) and the sixteenth century Europe.  The lecture was excellent because the professor touched on almost all of the significant events and issues in Europe of the time.  His lecture extremely synthesized my knowledge, connecting one event to another.

In 1533, Henry VIII broke with the Pope and claimed Dissolution of the Monasteries.  Many Catholic cathedrals in England were knocked down by the groups of the reformers who embraced the theological idea of Martin Luther.  Then, the King Henry established his own church, High Church or Church of England.  He appointed himself as Supreme Head of this religious sect (Episcopalian).  Interestingly enough, Dissolution of Monarch was claimed when Henry VIII wanted to get divorced his wife, Catherine of Aragorn.  This religious change from Catholic to Protestant made it possible for Henry to get divorced with Catherine.  He ended up with having five wives and a number of illegitimate children before he died.

When Henry’s oldest daughter, Mary, came to the throne, the official religion in English Empire was switched back from Protestant to Catholic.  Tawny Seago asked, “Is she Bloody Mary (cocktail)?”  This was a very good question, which brings us to a discussion of why this queen got this unpleasant nickname.  Brockett writes, “. . . during her reign as Mary I (1553-1558) more than three hundred persons were executed for heresy or sedition [for the opposition of Catholic]” (155).  She was called Bloody Mary because she mercilessly burned the people who were against Catholic.

Professor Luciano gave a special attention to the fact that Elizabeth I took the middle ground policy on religious controversy.  She eliminated chaos, which did contribute stability of her reign.  In fact, the duration of her reign was forty five years, which is the second longest reign in the world followed by Louis XIV.  The House of Tudor played a significant role in the religious conflicts during the sixteenth century.

In 1588, Spanish king, Phillip II, sent his invincible fleet to England — that is, Spanish Armada.  England’s puny navy miraculously defeated Spanish empire although the number of English battle ship was less than one third of the number of Spanish fleet.  This decisive defeat of England also contributed enormous popularity of Elizabeth, boosting their self esteem.
 

Log #4 for Week 4, January 28-February 1

Discussion: Doctor Faustus:
DWC students had fruitful discussion sessions of Doctor Faustus on Monday and Wednesday.  Reviewing the discussion, there were a couple of crucial points for understanding the world of this play.  One of these points was that Faustus’ super objective is to acquire power.  Power is a distinctive symbolism used in this play.  Faustus is a master of knowledge and does not find a challenge in his studies anymore.  Aristotle’s Philosophy, Law, Medicine, Physics, Theology, and Latin are no longer challenging for the doctor.  What Faustus wants most is power.  Professor Luciano refers to the opening monologue of Faustus in Act I Scene 1:

And necromantic books are heavenly;
Lines, circles, letters, characters—
Ay, these are those Faustus most desires,
O, what a world of profit and delight,
Of power, of honor, and omnipotence
Is promised to the studious artisan!  (1.1.46-52)

Professor Luciano’s reference is a clear indication of Faustus being fascinated by power.  Faustus’ super objective is to conceive power.  Faustus conspires with Mephostophilis and self-destructively gets into magic or black arts.  Magic is also a symbol of power.

The professor’s explanation guided DWC students to recognizing the historical contexts of the play.  Renaissance started out Florence Italy and spread out many countries in Europe, including English Empire.  With the help of industrial revolution (printing machine), the world view was rapidly moving from the age of god to the age of science.  Universities got a number of books, students became educated, and various things that did not make sense began to be explained in a scientific manner.

The other important point that Professor Luciano laid stress on was that Faustus is “an over-reacher.”  Faustus does go beyond his own limitations and even pushes himself more.  He has chances for repent, but his arrogance in pride or hubris always gets in the way.  He cannot hold himself back; then, he bargains with Mephostophilis who gives power in exchange of his soul.  This over-reaching concept reminds me one of Japanese perspectives.  There is an expression that can describe this tragic hero’s situation: A nail sticking out of the surface can get hit.  Dr. Faustus is this nail and is definitely an over-reacher.

Professor Luciano lectured one of the medieval conventions that Marlowe used in the play.  Thinking by analogy is a tradition of morality play and influenced on the writing styles of the sixteenth and seventeenth century playwrights, including Marlowe and Shakespeare.  Mirror images can be frequently noticed in Doctor Faustus.  For example, Faustus and Mephostophilis can be a parallel to each other.  Dr. Faustus, who is a Renaissance man, pays medieval price.  This is a clear indication of that Faustus is a mirror image of Renaissance Everyman.  Finally, Faustus is considered as Marlowe himself.

Go to Log #5 and #6