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Dr. Faustus : Absolute Power Corrupts

Updated on December 22, 2015

Mephistopheles and his deal

Introduction to Dr. Faustus

Doctor Faustus is arguably one of the best plays of the Elizabethan era and probably Christopher Marlowe's greatest achievement. The work features some of his best poetry. It was first published in 1604 and has been rewritten for every generation. It raises pertinent questions about religion and the notions of good and evil. Should we consider Dr. Faustus an exemplary figure, a brilliant man who refuses to be chained by limitations of a human being or is the play a cautionary tale about the loneliness of man, his greed and consequences of cutting man off from God?

The plot of Dr. Faustus

Absolute power corrupts. This is an age old adage proved by Dr. Faustus. In the beginning we see Dr. Faustus as a brilliant man striving to master several disciplines and seeking challenges in his quest for knowledge but later he turns to necromancy or black magic and summons the devil. Thus arrives Mephistopheles, the messenger of Lucifer! He offers Dr. Faustus unimaginable powers in return for his soul after twenty four years. Here comes the temptation and the moral dilemma! The devil cautions him and tells him of the horrors of hell and the tragic existence of no longer being in God's grace but Dr. Faustus ignores the caution and takes the deal. Here begins the fall of Faustus! This power got through a deal, corrupts him to the core and turns him into an empty shell of a man who he once was!

Is Dr. Faustus relevant today?

We as readers can easily empathize with Faustus as a man who faces temptation and tough choices. These temptations may be miniscule such as breaking a fast, telling a white lie to get favors or extreme like cheating on your spouse, laundering money or accepting bribes. There is no one who can resist temptation altogether. The play was written in the 16th century but is very relevant today. The idiom that absolute power corrupts is even truer today in the times of corrupt politicians, countries waging wars, and the gross misuse of power against innocent men , women and children. When Faustus is taken away by the Devil, we are secretly pleased that he is being punished for his deeds and repenting at the last moment does him no good. We, as a society, wish to see the corrupt punished and justice served but at the same time the play also tells us that man is given many chances to save his soul. No matter how grave the crime, we are still eligible to seek repentance and salvage our souls. This is a very comforting thought in this world of temptations and power struggles. We are weak but all is not lost..!!


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    • deepaliawasare profile image
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      Deepali Awasare 23 months ago from Vadodara

      Thanks Amit .... absolute power corrupts absolutely ..... very true ... we see so many examples around us .... we are often faced with dilemmas and we need that inner strength to do the right thing ... that inner strength is God ...or you can call it you mom or dad or friend ...it is very crucial to fight the Devil

    • deepaliawasare profile image
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      Deepali Awasare 23 months ago from Vadodara

      Swalia .... you are right ....its still very relevant.. more so .... I guess that's why its a classic

      Aditya ....very thought provoking words ... we need to face our inner self and remember the values instilled by our parents .... then all will be well

    • profile image

      Amit2070 23 months ago

      Absolute power corrupts … Well I think absolute is redundant and corruption is proportional to how much power one has. So, I would say absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      The masses where power is spread thin are the ones who are really bothered with the notions of responsibility and corruption. I wonder whether a person in power every gives it any thought. This is what the real problem is. There is not only God within us, there is Devil too. And some time I think they are one and the same.

      Thanks for this wonderful write-up.

    • profile image

      Aditya 23 months ago

      I totally agree with your views..........but the truth is that we expect others to be honest and selfless while our own errors are conveniently justified

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 23 months ago

      I read Dr. Faustus during my post-graduation. A very powerful play and absolutely relevant in today's times.

    • deepaliawasare profile image
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      Deepali Awasare 23 months ago from Vadodara

      Very right ... we come across misuse of power quite frequently nowadays .... its very disturbing

    • profile image

      suman siwach 23 months ago

      Very pertinent to our times too... good job ...keep it up..

    • deepaliawasare profile image
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      Deepali Awasare 24 months ago from Vadodara

      Thanks ....will surely do so

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      Varsha Huilgol 24 months ago

      Hey Deepali, that is an interesting write-up. Keep writing.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      That is much better Deepali. Your introduction helps a lot. You would have enough words now for one Amazon capsule as long as it is relevant.. perhaps a book about Christopher Marlowe or playwriting for instance.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      That is much better Deepali. Your introduction helps a lot. You would have enough words now for one Amazon capsule as long as it is relevant.. perhaps a book about Christopher Marlowe or playwriting for instance.

    • deepaliawasare profile image
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      Deepali Awasare 2 years ago from Vadodara

      thanks Jodah ... will do the needful

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Deepsli. Welcome to HubPages and congratulations on your first hub. Firstly this was interesting but you need to add an introduction so the reader knows what you are describing. Is Dr Faustus a poem or play or both for instance? It is listed under dramatic poetry. It would be good to read an exempt especially for those unfamiliar with the subject. Also to pass quality assessment and be featured you need to have only one Amazon or eBay add per 300 words and they have to be relevant to the subject of the hub...the two on this hub are not, "a hair dryer and Kindle". Good luck and I look forward to reading more from you.

    • deepaliawasare profile image
      Author

      Deepali Awasare 2 years ago from Vadodara

      My first writeup .. Hope you all like it