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Home » » Discuss Doctor Faustus as an allegory
What is Allegory. Allegory is an extended Metaphor in Which the Characters, Actions or Ideas Imply Some Other Meanings. Often Allegories are Simple stories Conveying Metaphorically Some Spiritual or ethical ideas with a Didactic Purpose. Morality Plays are more or less Allegorical in which the Meanings are Implied and not Expressly stated.

Moral allegory in Doctor Faustus. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is a play which Embodies a moral Allegory relating 'the form of Faustus's Fortunes. Good or bad', and this Moral Allegory is of universal Significance. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Serves as a Religious, Rather Christian moral Sermon which Announces that he, who shuns the path of virtue, Denounces God and His Laws, and aligns himself with the Forces of evil to gain limitless Power and Position, is Doomed to Despair and eternal, Damnation.Doctor Faustus as an allegory .The  Following lines clearly express the moral Allegory of the play:

Faustus is gone : regard his hellish fall.Whose fiendful Fortune may exhort the wiseOnly to wonder at Unlawful thingsWhose Deepness doth entice such Forward witsTo Practice more than Heaverly power Permits.
 "No finer Sermon than Marlowe's Faustus ever Came from the pulpit. What more Fearsome Exposure was ever Offered of the Punishment man Brings upon himself by giving way to Temptations of his Grosser appetites?"


Faustus-An allegory embracing realism. Miracle and Morality plays have some stock devices and Marlowe's Doctor Evil A with the Faustus is no exception to this. The Good Angel and the Bad Angel. The Devils, the Old Man, the Seven Deadly Sins, etc. Introduced in the Play are open to Allegorical Interpretation. The two Angels are Messengers of Power Independent of Faustus, while Helen, Though a Phantom, is not just a Figment of Faustus's Imagination.

Helen Represents the lust of eye and flesh in the world.The play, though an Allegory, does not Altogether exclude realism; it employs Realism as an Instrument. Certain Characters of the play are Chosen to Serve a Double Purpose: Characters are Significant as Symbols by virtue of what they Symbolise, but they are Significant also as Themselves by Virtue of what they are. And they ; are not Significant now as the one thing, now as the other, by a sort of Alternation : but Continuously and Simultaneously as both.

The Good Angel and the Bad Angel.The Good Angel Represents the Principle of Goodness and this principle is not Affected by whether Faustus is loyal to it or not. Faustus can neither Increase nor Lessen its perfection: nor can he create or destroy it. But the Good Angel also Symbolises a part of Faustus's nature Only by loyalty to this Part of his Nature can Faustus attain his own Perfection and Thereby get peace : if Disloyal, he is Tormented by regret for the perfection he has Missed. And thus the allegory Suggests a Synthesis : that Faustus's life Though Single and Indivisible, is both his and not his own.The Good Angel Could Ensure lasting Happiness, While Helen Ensures a Momentary Happiness, as she is a shade and Not Substantial


Allegorical devices of space and time .Between Faustus and the Good Angel, the Distinction Relating to Space is a Between Faustus's death and his Signing of the bond, the Separation Relating to time is also A device. The two are Separated by a Period of Twenty-four Years. This period is Significant as itself, but it is Symbolical also of the Moment of Signing, Which is the Moment of Faustus's Plunge to Spiritual Death.He kills his soul for it Does not need twenty-four years to Weaker or to Wither. But as death, Whether Spiritual or Physical, does not Destroy a soul, the Consequences of Signing the bond are not Restricted to a moment. Faustus is Allowed to Explore evil with all Patience and Diligence. During this Period each of the Angels Continues in his Double role : as part  Of Faustus, Expressing his Preoccupations, and as External agent, either Encouraging those Preoccupations or to end them. The Evil Angel and the devils are more Prominent in the earlier Scenes. And Faustus Cannot resist any Invitation to evil

Symbolic significant of characters .Faustus is a man with the Admixture of Virtue and vice in his soul. "The Good and Evil Angels are Really externalisations of the two Aspects Of Faustus's own Character: on the one Hand, Conscience, and on the other, that Aspiration to the novel and Romantic that led to his Downfall" Helen, the only paragon of Excellence. Fascinates Faustus. And the Repeals the Renaissance Characteristic of love And Adoration of Classical art and beauty. Her shade or Apparition Bespeaks of Sensual Pleasures of life which are but Transitory, and lead to Despair and Damnation. The Gifts of the Devil can Never Satisfy and Cannot be Everlasting.Faustus has Obtained Power and Wealth.But once the Attempt is Ma And Adoration of Classical art and beauty. Her shade or Apparition Bespeaks of Sensual Pleasures of life which are but Transitory, and lead to Despair and Damnation. The Gifts of the Devil can Never Satisfy and Cannot be Everlasting.Faustus has Obtained Power and Wealth.But once the Attempt is Made to use Them, Disillusion Begins. Faustus in his Inexperience Thinks that, Having sold Himself to the Devil, he will be Allowed to Retain Some part of his Integrity: for Instance that he may use the New-found Wealth to set up a Household. That is Why he asks for a wife: she is Brought but proves to be an ugly devil. Faustus's Fleshly Desires are Satisfied, But the Result is that his Spititual Desires Become the More Insistent. The devil is Summoned to Discuss 'Divine Astrology But the joy of learning is no more Permissible to Faustus than that of Domestic bliss. Faustus has Renounced Learning that can lead to Knowledge, love, and Ultimately the Vision of God. Mephistophilis Refuses to Answer when Faustus asks: "Tell me Who Made the world. The Whole Economy of hell is disturbed : Lucifer Appears with his Fellow-Prince, Belzebub, and Demands Obedience. As a Substitute for the vision of God Lucifer Shows him the Seven Dealy Sins, and at the end of the parade Faustus says: "O, this feeds my soul". Then he goes on to express a desire to see hell and return: O, might I See Hell, and return again.How happy were I then !" Thus Faustus falls a Victim to the Vice of curiosity

Significant of the Seven Deadly Sins. Faustus is Not an Ordinary man to be Moved by the Seven Deadly Sins.The Show of the Seven Deadly Sins Brings Faustus Back to the Path of Hell.Sins are Already in the soul of Faustus and the show Externalises them.The Whole Procession is led by Pride. Pride is the Worst voice that Brings about Downfall.And Faustus is puffed up With pride to fly too Near the Sun with Waxen wings" to bring about his own Ultimate Doom and Damnation.The Stipulated span Draws to a Close and Before the Allegory ends,the Last Gift (Helen) of the Evil Angel Has Already Crumbled in the Hands of Faustus.


Significant of the Old Man.Faustus Neglects the Eternal that Cannot but Avenge itself.By the choice of evil,Faustus Has Forfeited not only Spiritual but Physical Integrity, as he is Destroyed by the Passage of time (in the allegory).The Old Man Reminds him of this.Faustus Becomes Furious with the Old Man and asks Mephistophilis to Torment him. But Mephistophilis is Powerless Against one who,unlike Faustus lays fast Hold on the eternal. The Old Man will fly into his God' but Faustus has Nowhere to fly but to what Remains of his youth

Allegory :not simple but complicated .In the play one picture is not Substituted for and, Therefore, Weakened by another: two pictures are Retained and Strengthen one Another.Faustus suffers not merely by Seeming to Struggle with an Outside enemy, but he Actually has such an enemy; he does not Merely seem to be torn Within, but he is so torn. Against Lucifer he must Struggle With the Persistence Called for Against Himself: And Against Himself he must Struggle with the Violence for Which Lucifer calls.The Temporal Allegory is Effective in a Similar way. As Long as Faustus is Alive,he has Hope and,Therefore, pain of this Intensity. At the Same time, he has no Hope, for he is Already Dead in a way.He must Continue after death to Suffer the Utmost that he has ever suffered in life.

Allegory Provides Material And Machinery for the Body of the Play and also shapes it.The play Begins with a Monologue and Ends with one. Towards the End the stage thins out, and Faustus is Left Alone with the Scholars.The Scholars are Conveniences to Allow him to Soliloquize in public.The Same holds true with the Allegory of time.In the Body of the Play Scene succeeds scene, not indeed in any order, But in One Which is More of Psychological than Chronological Significance.Towards the End,References to Time Begin to multiply.In the Final Monologue a clock is on the Stage, and Faustus's Imagery, now Seeking to halt time, now Yielding to it in Despair, only Succeeds in Making it fly the Faster. Thus he Seems to be Rushing Upon his Doom.And in the opening Monologue, he rushes on to the act from Which the doom Proceeds. Both Points are the same,for the Consequences follow Immediately upon the act.The play is Symmetrical as well as a closed Circle : it ends Where it Begins: it leaves Faustus Where And as it Found him--doomed

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