11 sept. 2010

Is Dr. Faustus a transitional work between the Middle Ages and the Reinnasance?

Marlowe has created Dr Fautus as a character with Reinassance characteristics who had to pay the medieval price for thinking and behaving like a Reinassance man. This means that in the play of Marlowe we can see the clash between the Medieval World and the emerging world of the Reinassance. On the one hand, the Medieval world placed God at the center of existence and shunted aside man and the natural world. On the other hand, the Reinassance was a movement that carried a new emphasis on the individual, on the classical learning, and on scientific inquiry into the nature of the world in which secular matters took center stage.
Faustus, despite being a magician rather than a scientist rejects the medieval order. In scene 1, for example, he goes through every field of scholarship: logic, medicine, law and theology by quoting an ancient authority for each. Artistotle on logic, Galen in medicine, Justiniane in Law and the Bible in religion. In the Medieval Model, tradition and authority were the key, not the individual inquiry.
In his soliloquy, Faustus considers and rejects this medieval way of thinking. He resolves, according to his Reinassance spirit, to accept no limits, traditions, or authorities in his quest for knowledge, wealth, and power.
The play's attitude toward the clash between Medieval and Reinassance values is ambiguous. Marlowe seems hostile toward the ambitions of Fautus and he keeps his tragic hero. In the Medieval World eternal domination was the price of human pride. Yet, Marlowe himself was no pious traditionalist and wants to see in Faustus a hero of the new Modern world, a world free of God, Religion and the limits that these imposed on humanity. Faustus may pay a Medieval price, but his successors will go further than he had, and suffer less. However, the disappointment and mediocrity that follow Faustus' pact with the devil, as he defends from ground ambitions to pretty conjuring tricks, might suggest a contrasting interpretation. Marlowe may be suggesting that new, modern-spirit, though ambitious and glittering, will lead only to Faustian dead end.