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!
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
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