At several moments Faustus considers the possibility of repentance, only to reject it. What in the play draws him towards and away from this possibility?
Last Chance for Redemption
Throughout the play, Doctor Faustus, Marlowe presents a character torn between his ill-defined desires and the fate of his immortal soul. There are many instances where Faustus could repent, yet he does not. The causes as to why he does not do so are many, but they are not new to the human condition. One such reason could be Faustus’ own intelligence, through which he becomes his own end. Alternatively, and perhaps more probable, is Faustus’ overwhelming pride in his own ability. It could be argued that Faustus is damned from conception and through a culmination of his natural ability, his upbringing and his unusual circumstances, is doomed to reside in hell for eternity.
At the beginning of the play, the audience witnesses Faustus collecting his thoughts in his study, his speech belittling traditional careers for men such as he. His bitterness at how Aristotle’s Analytics have ‘ravish’d’ him is evident in the opening phrases, and he wonders at how strong argument can truly be the end of logic when it leaves him so dissatisfied. His words become much more animated when he begins to speculate on the implications of the supernatural should he be able to harness its power. He becomes easily enticed by the “world of profit and delight, / Of power, of honour, of omnipotence” that supposedly awaits him. It is at once obvious to the average patron of the theatre in Marlowe’s Elizabethan England that his logic has become flawed. The blasphemous nature of the subject upon which he speaks was something that all who watched the play would have had a very strong opinion about considering the profound part that religion had to play in their lives. This is why Faustus needs to repent: because the alternative can only be hell, no more and no less. When Faustus questions Mephostophilis...