Doctor Faustus can be seen as either a romantic rebel or a damning folly. This excerpt, “His waxen wings did mount above his reach, And, melting, Heavens conspir’d his overthrow,” makes a reference to Icarus, which is a story told about a man named Icarus and his attempt to escape Crete using wings that his father had made out of feathers and wax. Icarus ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and his wax wings melted and caused him to fall into the sea where he drowned.
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The main theme of Icarus is the structure and consequence of personal over-ambition, which can relate very closely to Faustus’s tale, because it is Faustus’s over-ambition that damns him to an eternal suffering. This reference to a man who damned himself to a watery grave, leads me to believe that Doctor Faustus is meant to be perceived as a damning folly. Faustus appears to be a romantic rebel in this excerpt, “When Mephistophilis shall stand by me, What God can hurt thee, Faustus? Thou art safe.
Doctor Faustus completely denies God and claims that he cannot be hurt by God. In saying this, Faustus rebels against God and all of his glory, and he appears to be a romantic rebel, but then he once again damns himself further. “I cut mine arm, and with my proper blood Assure my soul to be great Lucifer’s… My blood congeals, and I can write no more… So now the blood begins to clear again; Now will I make an end immediately [Writes]” In this passage, Faustus cuts his arm to be able to sign his name in blood to give his soul to the devil.
When his own body tells him to stop by clotting, he ignores this warning, heats his wound to make the blood flow again, and continues to seal his fate by signing his soul over to Lucifer. Doctor Faustus time and time again proves himself to be a prime example of a damning folly. Faustus is constantly conflicted between two angels, one good andone bad. The good angel tells him to repent but Faustus refuses.
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Faustus, repent; yet God will pity thee… My heart’s so hard’ned I cannot repent. Scarce can I name salvation, faith, or heaven, But fearful echoes thunder in mine ears “Faustus, thou art damn’d! ” All Faustus hadto do was repent, and he would have been saved. Faustus denies his only way of being saved when he refuses to repent and be saved by God. Faustus fears that it is too late to repent, because of what the evil angel tells him.
He ignores the truth that the good angel tells him and therefore damns himself further. Faustus does make one small attempt at repenting but takes it immediately back. “I do repent; and yet I do despair… Thou traitor, Faustus, I arrest thy soul… Sweet Mephistophilis, entreat thy lord To pardon my unjust presumption. And with my blood again I will confirm My former vow I made to Lucifer. ” And with that, Faustus fulfills his role of the damning folly.See More on Christianity, Jesus