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Is doctor faustus a christian tragedy why or why not

Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. Marlowe and the first Christian tragedy The first tragedian worthy of the tradition of the Greeks was Christopher Marlowe. But he brought such imaginative vigour and sensitivity to bear that melodrama is transcendedin terms reminiscent of high tragedy. Tamburlaine, a Scythian shepherd of the 14th century, becomes the spokesman, curiously enough, for the new world of the Renaissance —iconoclastic, independent, stridently ambitious.

But Tamburlaine, although he is an iconoclastis also a poet. No one before him on the English stage had talked with such magnificent lyric power as he does, whether it be on the glories of conquest or on the beauties of Zenocrate, his beloved. When, still unconquered by any enemy, he sickens and dies, he leaves the feeling that something great, however ruthless, has gone.

Here once again is the ambiguity that was so much a part of the Greek tragic imagination—the combination of awe, pity, and fear that Aristotle defined. In Doctor Faustus the sense of conflict between the tradition and the new Renaissance individualism is much greater. Here is modern man, tragic modern man, torn between the faith of tradition and faith in himself. Faustus takes the risk in the end and is bundled off to hell in true mystery-play fashion.

But the final scene does not convey that justice has been done, even though Faustus admits that his fate is just. Rather, the scene suggests that the transcendent human individual has been caught in the consequences of a dilemma that he might have avoided but that no imaginative man could have avoided.

The sense of the interplay of fate and freedom is not unlike that of Oedipus.

Explain why The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Marlowe is a Christian tragedy.

The sense of tragic ambiguity is more poignant in Faustus than in Oedipus or Tamburlaine because Faustus is far more introspective than either of the other heroes. For this reason, and not because it advocates Christian doctrinethe play has been called the first Christian tragedy. Faust, detail from the title page of the 1616 edition of The Tragical History of Dr.

Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. Courtesy of the trustees of the British Library; photograph, R.

Fleming Shakespearean tragedy Shakespeare was a long time coming to his tragic phase, the six or seven years that produced his five greatest tragedies— Hamlet written c. These were not the only plays written during those years. But the concentration of tragedies is sufficient to distinguish this period from that of the comedies and history plays before and that of the so-called romances afterward. Although the tragic period cannot entirely be accounted for in terms of biographysocial historyor current stage fashions, all of which have been adduced as causes, certain questions should be answered, at least tentatively: How do they relate to Classical, medievaland Renaissance traditions?

In attempting to answer these questions, this proviso must be kept in mind: It can be assumed that Shakespeare knew the tradition. Certainly the Elizabethan theatre could not have existed without the Greek and Roman prototype. For all of its mixed nature—with comic and melodramatic elements jostling the tragic—the Elizabethan theatre retained some of the high concern, the sense of involvement, and even the ceremonial atmosphere of the Greek theatre.

When tragedies were performed, the stage was draped in black. Modern studies have shown that the Elizabethan theatre retained many ties with both the Middle Ages and the tradition of the Greeks. OthelloWilliam Shakespeare's Othello is discussed by the cast and crew of a Folger Shakespeare Library production of the play.

Certain stock characters, to be sure, appear in the early comedies. Even Falstaffthat triumphant individual, has a prototype in the braggadocio of Roman comedyand even Falstaff has his tragic side. His earliest history plays, for instance Henry VIParts 1, 2and 3are little more than chronicles of the great pageant figures—kingship in all its colour and potency.

Richard III 1592—94which follows them, focuses with an intensity traditionally reserved for the tragic hero on one man and on the sinister forces, within and without, that bring him to destruction.

From kingship, that is, Shakespeare turned to the king, the symbolic individual, the focal man, to whom whole societies look for their values and meanings.

Thus Richard III is almost wholly sinister, though there exists a fascination about him, an all but tragic ambiguity. In these last plays, man is at the limits of his sovereignty as a human beingwhere everything that he has lived by, stood for, or loved is put to the test.

Like Prometheus on the crag, or Oedipus as he learns who he is, or Medea deserted by Jason, the Shakespearean tragic heroes are at the extremities of their natures. Hamlet and Macbeth are thrust to the very edge of sanity; Lear and, momentarily, Othello are thrust beyond it.

Once the destructive course is set going, these forces operate with the relentlessness the Greeks called Moira, or Fate. His heroes are the vehicles of psychological, societal, and cosmic forces that tend to ennoble and glorify humanity or infect it and destroy it.

The logic of tragedy that possessed him demanded an insistence upon the latter. Initially, his heroes make free choices and are free time after time to turn back, but they move toward their doom as relentlessly as did Oedipus.

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The total tragic statement, however, is not limited to the fate of the hero. He is but the centre of an action that takes place in a context involving many other characters, each contributing a point of view, a set of values or antivalues to the complex dialectic of the play. All these faults, Shakespeare seems to be saying, are inevitabilities of the human condition. But they do not spell rejection, nihilismor despair.

The hero may die, but, in the words of the novelist E. HamletShort excerpts from a Folger Shakespeare Library production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, with critical analysis by the cast and crew. Few have ever sustained the balance for long. Aeschylus tended to slide off to the right, Euripides to the left, and even Sophocles had his hero transfigured at Colonus.

The atmosphere of Macbeth is murky with evil; the action moves with almost melodramatic speed from horror to horror. Antony and Cleopatra, in its ambiguities and ironyhas been considered close to the Euripidean line of bitterness and detachment. Shakespeare himself soon modulated into another mood in his last plays, Cymbeline c.

Each is based on a situation that could have been developed into major tragedy had Shakespeare followed out its logic as he had done with earlier plays. For whatever reason, however, he chose not to.

The great tragic questions are not pressed. All of these plays end in varying degrees of harmony and reconciliation. Shakespeare willed it so. Though each of them has a rightful place in the history of English drama, tragedy suffered a transmutation in their hands. The Jacobean dramatists—those who flourished in England during the reign of James I—failed to transcend the negative tendencies they inherited from Elizabethan tragedy: This sinister tendency came to a climax about 1605 and was in part a consequence of the anxiety surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth I and the accession of James I.

The Jacobeans, on the other hand, were possessed by death. They became superb analysts of moral confusion and of the darkened vision of humanity at cross purposes, preying upon itself; of lust, hate, and intrigue engulfing what is left of beauty, love, and integrity.

There is little that is redemptive or that suggests, as had Aeschylus, that evil might be resolved by the enlightenment gained from suffering.

Marlowe and the first Christian tragedy

Many of the plays maintained a pose of ironicdetached reportage, without the sense of sympathetic involvement that the greatest tragedians have conveyed from the beginning. Some of the qualities of the highest tragedians have been claimed for John Webster. One critic points to his search for a moral order as a link to Shakespeare and sees in his moral vision a basis for renewal.

  • When tragedies were performed, the stage was draped in black;
  • God sits on high, as the judge of the world and every soul goes either to hell or to heaven;
  • While considering other avenues of study to pursue, such as philosophy, medicine and law, Faustus decides to follow the;;;
  • Marlowe believes that church is still place of superstitious rites and false authorities.

Overwhelmed by final unleashed terror, the Duchess affirms the essential dignity of man. Despite such vestiges of greatness, however, the trend of tragedy was downward. High moral sensitivity and steady conviction are required to resist the temptation to resolve the intolerable tensions of tragedy into either the comfort of optimism or the relaxed apathy of despair.

Periods of the creation of high tragedy are therefore few and short-lived. The demands on artist and audience alike are very great. Forms wear out, and public taste seems destined to go through inevitable cycles of health and disease. What is to one generation powerful and persuasive rhetoric becomes bombast and bathos to the next. The inevitable materials of tragedy—violence, madness, hate, and lust—soon lose their symbolic role and become perverted to the uses of melodrama and sensationalism, mixed, for relief, with the broadest comedy or farce.