克里斯托弗·马洛

Consider the treatment in one text of one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins

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As knowledge seekers, many people will strive harder or try appropriate means to achieve their goal for further knowledge to the extent that bridges onto excessiveness that reflects one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Doctor Faustus is this seeker of knowledge who wants to find out more than is suitable and appropriate for him to know. Faustus is a disdainer who gets a scorner’s comeuppance. He commits a mortal sin and goes to hell for it.

Dr Faustus deals with the ambition of the Renaissance to cultivate an ‘aspiring mind’. The Renaissance as a time of intense, all-encompassing infinite knowledge is embodied in Faustus. However, he shows little discrimination in his pursuits. He delights, for example, in the Seven Deadly Sins, ironically remarking ‘O thus feeds my soul’.  Throughout the twenty-four years, he seeks experience of all kinds in the true Renaissance manner; however, instead of freedom, his knowledge brings him despair.

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Political and Philosophical theories place too heavy a burden upon a writer. The inevitable result seems to be texts that are didactic and polemical, rather than imaginative and creative. Discuss any one text, which you believe disproves this assertion.

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Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe can be said to be a didactic text that details the death of the main character; the time leading up to that point and what becomes of his soul. It teaches us about his condemnation, not his salvation. However, contrary to this to disprove this assertion, Dr. Faustus is not just a didactic play. It is a play about Man pushing himself further, trying to have an intoxicating time and dream. He is a man that has been given three wishes and could be said to have found a genie in a bottle. What would the reader do with the wishes/genie? How would the reader strive for more than what they have got? Having the desire to have three wishes or to find a genie in a bottle is found in any person that allows not only them to be imaginative and creative but also the author.

Dr. Faustus wishes for many things and finds his genie in Mephistopheles. Dr. Faustus makes use of his newfound chances. He is a man who is a knowledge seeker. He wants to find out more than is good for him to know. This can not be wrong as a man who wants more than he has been offered. He does not want to plod along in life.  He wants to eat, drink, and be merry. It is no accident that he compares himself to Colossus (IV, VII). Faustus is a scholar, books are his trade, philosophy his strength. Dr. Faustus begins by reading about the Greeks, Aristotle and ends up desiring Helen of Troy. His reading also contains maps that show Faustus exotic lands with their promise of new sensations. His study of classical authors has to be commendable as they are immense stories of biblical status. 

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Consider how criticism might engage with race and religion (through two texts)

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Race and religion can form vital parts of any play or novel; history has proved that tension, be it through different religions/ races of people, has stirred up many conflicts. In this essay, I will refer to two texts namely ‘The Jew of Malta’ by Christopher Marlowe and ‘The Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad. I would like to show how criticism can engage from a story and that we can see the undertones of the text that shows racial and religious streams of thought and action. These narratives both show the act of colonialism/countries powers, which are true accounts of the Christian colonizers and the Turkish Siege of Malta as well as King Leopold and the Belgium Congo.

The Jew of Malta – Christopher Marlowe

Initially, The Jew of Malta resonates with themes of religious tension, which was a parallel to the time, in the sixteenth century. There were not many Jews in England during this time. Jews in England secretly practiced. Many Jews who were born into the Jewish faith either converted or pretended to be Christians. Criticism can be pointed not only towards the non-secular people in England but also where this play tries to deal with the anti-semitic feeling that was rife throughout the whole of Europe. The Jewish people did not believe in Christianity, so they were a threat to social order. English Protestants felt that Jews were outsiders as well as Muslims and Catholics. Marlowe forces the reader to re-examine the factors that were the start of internationalism. It makes the reader comment about the internal affairs at that time. The subject of commerce and internationalism had a role in the unfolding drama that could be equal to the effects of antisemitism.

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