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Paper Topic:

Ambition. In the play `Dr. Faustus` by Christopher Marlowe, How Marlowe grapple`s with the primary sin of ambition in a society where class (rank) identity is supposed to be fixed?

Running Head : Ambition . In the play `Dr . Faustus` by Christopher Marlowe , How Marlowe grapple 's with the primary sin of ambition in a society where class (rank ) identity is supposed to be fixed

Dr . Faustus stands at the onset of the Renaissance period and the dawn of the middle ages as he contemplates the religious drama of his time Indeed , during those medieval times , the understanding of heaven and hell was not far removed from the conceptual understanding of the occult . The play is lined with supernatural beings , angels and demons which

might have stepped onstage to clarify a major ambition in the medieval ages , the fervent pursuit of salvation

Indeed , this type of ambition is contrasted very well in the play Dr Faustus , by the onset of the Renaissance period and the ambitions it provides . A quick overview of the Renaissance period shows that it was also the Age of Discovery word has just reached Europe of the existence of exotic places in the `New World . This Age of Discovery is responsible for the change in focus of ambitions from the `otherworldly of the medieval ages , to the more familiar `worldly ' ambitions of our times . We see Faustus , although moving to embrace worldly ambitions beset by mullings of the other world . For example he asks the demon Mephistopheles

FIRST WILL I QUESTION WITH THEE ABOUT HELL . TELL ME , WHERE IS THE PLACE THAT MEN CALL HELL (5 .120-135

And later , after being given an explanation , he says

COME , I THINK HELL 'S A FABLE (5 .120-135

In fact these arguments seem to capture well the transition between the middle Ages and the Renaissance period since no neat dividing line exists . As Dr . Faustus encourages his ambition to focus on the opportunities presented by this so-called Age of discovery . His single-minded concern is with luxurious silk gowns and powerful war-machines than with saving his soul

This contrast between wealth and salvation must be understood from the standpoint that Dr . Faustus intends to acquire such wealth through an ambitious carrer5 in necromancy . Indeed , black magic seems to him as the only career that can match the scope of his ambition , the subject that can challenge his enormous intellect . Being a scholar , he has mastered the major professions of his time . Specifically he claims to have mastered Law , medicine and theology , and he finds them all dissatisfying . Dr . Faustus finds that his huge ambitions have seemingly met their match as he ponders to dig deeper into necromancy . Faustus is full of ideas for how to use the power that he seeks . He imagines piling up great wealth , but he also aspires to plumb the mysteries of the universe and to remake the map of Europe . Though they may not be entirely admirable , these plans are ambitious and inspire awe , if not sympathy . They lend a grandeur to Faustus 's schemes and make his quest for personal power seem almost heroic , a sense that is reinforced by the eloquence of his early soliloquies...

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