The Negative Influence of Power Portrayed in Doctor Faustus, a Play by Christopher Marlowe

Topics: Doctor Faustus

The play “Doctor Faustus” by Christopher Marlowe is a tragedy about life and death. A tragedy is a play that shows a conflict between a human character and a differing, overpowering force. In this play, the main character Faustus wants to experiment with black magic. This prompts a lot of inner conflicts for him, and an overall theme that power can be a negative influence.

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In this scene of the play, Faustus faces a conflict of whether or not to sign away his soul to the devil. He is unsure of whether he should return to God, or if he should continue pursuing the dark arts. Not only is this conflict within himself, but Faustus also influences both good and bad angels whose trying to persuade him. The good angel tries to influence him to go back on the path toward heaven and God. Yet the bad angel is encouraging him on the path of the dark arts and black magic.

Faustus ultimately ends up listening more to the bad angel, who mentions things such as wealth and power. Once the bad angel mentions that, Faustus is entranced with that idea and continues to sign away his soul to Lucifer with the help of the devil Mephistophilis. This ultimately serves as a resolution for his conflicts, because he decides to follow through with the dark arts and continue on his path towards hell rather than listen to the good angel and seek out heaven and God.

Overall, this enforces the theme that power can be a negative influence. Faustus strays from the path of heaven and God and decides to try his hand in the black arts. He begins to question his decision, and whether he has made the right choice. However he only de,cides to follow through with his original plan of trying out black magic once the angels get involved. The bad angel says, “Rather illusions, the  fruit of lunacy, That make men foolish that do them most.”

(Marlowe) which can be used as a quote to summarize the general theme of man itself. Once the bad angel mentions wealth and power, or “illusions, the fruit of lunacy”, Faustus makes his decision and signs the contract for Lucifer. This quote summarizes the idea that pocany negatively influences man.

Tragedies are plays that focus on the struggle between man and another stronger, overpowering force. In the play “Doctor Faustus” by Christopher Marlowe, the main character Faustus has a lot of conflicts involving a decision between heaven and hell. Faustus cannot decide whether he should continue down the path of evil that he is currently on, or if he should try to redeem himself and go back toward heaven and God. He ultimately resolves his conflicts by sticking to the path of destruction that he is currently on, which shows the theme that power can be a negative influence.

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The Negative Influence of Power Portrayed in Doctor Faustus, a Play by Christopher Marlowe. (2022, Jun 14). Retrieved from

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