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Consider the treatment in one text of one of more of the Seven Deadly Sins

Uploaded by neilfin on Feb 22, 2004

As knowledge seekers many people will strive harder or try appropriate means to achieve there goal for further knowledge to the extent that bridges onto to excessiveness that reflects a deadly sin. Doctor Faustus is this seeker of knowledge who wants to find out more than is good for him to know. Faustus is a scoffer who gets a scoffer’s comeuppance. His commits mortal sin and goes to hell for it.

Dr Faustus deals with the ambition of the renaissance to cultivate an ‘aspiring mind’. The Renaissance for infinite knowledge is embodied in Faustus. However, Faustus shows little discrimination in his pursuits. He delights, for example, in the seven deadly sins, ironically remarking; “O thus feeds my soul’. Throughout the twenty-four years, he seeks experience of all kinds in the true Renaissance manner, instead of freedom; his know ledge brings him despair.

Another quality possessed by the ambitious Renaissance humanist is his desire to reach the highest peaks of life experience. To enter the new world where distant shores could be talked about. This is manifested in Faustus in his desire to none other than a God: ‘A sound magician is a demi-god’.

‘How am I glutted with conceit’ shows how his excessive pride is overtaking him. His almost unconcerned use of the words ‘I’ and ‘will’ (‘I’ll’) embodies a man of cupidity. He is a fearless taker of everything for his own greed. In an age of reason Faustus tries to stand on his own two feet and work out his salvation. He is motivated largely, by his desire for pleasure. He is covetous in his thoughts of ‘flying to India for gold’, ‘ransacking the orient for orient pear’. He hedonistically rides on the crest of sin. So blind is the lust of gain.

Aristotle stated that the tragic hero is predominately good man, whose undoing is brought about by some error of human frailty, ‘the stamp of one defect’. The audience sees three such defects in Faustus that leads to his ultimate domination of Mephistopheles: his pride, his relentless intellect and his desire to be more than man (to possess the power and the insight of a God). Any one of these three defects would have been sufficient to ensure his downfall in terms of theory of tragedy. In his pride, he is guilty of hubris, a quality that the Greek tragedy was certain to arouse the wrath of the Gods....

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Uploaded by:   neilfin

Date:   02/22/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (614 words)

Views:   1781

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