Doctor_Faustus_as_a_Tragedy_of_an_Overre - DOCTOR FAUSTUS AS A TRAGEDY OF AN OVERREACHER English literature owes a great debt to Christopher

Doctor_Faustus_as_a_Tragedy_of_an_Overre - DOCTOR FAUSTUS...

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DOCTOR FAUSTUS AS A TRAGEDY OF AN OVERREACHER English literature owes a great debt to Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) for identifying a certain type of classical tragic hero in the works of Sophocles and making him intelligible in English cultural terms. Harry Levin called this type “the over-reacher” after rhetorician George Puttenham’s attempt to find a close English synonym for the Greek word ‘hyperbole’ (in The Arte of English Poesie , 1589). Marlowe’s characters have an exaggerated appetite for achievement, whether it’s knowledge as power (Doctor Faustus), world conquest (Tamburlaine), or revenge and the acquisition of riches (Barabus). Marlowe’s heroes were popular then, and remain fascinating now, as portraits of English imperial ambitions dressed in the appearances of a German scholar, an Asian warlord, and a wealthy Maltese Jew. Their exotic appearances and settings gave Marlowe an opportunity to dazzle us with some of the most elaborate and extended set speeches in English drama. Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era . He was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day. He greatly influenced William Shakespeare , who was born in the same year as Marlowe and who rose to become the pre-eminent Elizabethan playwright after Marlowe's mysterious early death. Marlowe’s plays are known for the use of blank verse and their overreaching protagonists. One of the greatest achievements of Marlowe was that he broke away from the medieval conception of tragedy. In medieval dramas, tragedy was a thing of the prince’s only dealing with the rise and fall of kings or royal personali.ties. But it was left to Marlowe to evolve and create the real tragic hero. Almost all the heroes of Marlowe’s great tragedies Tamburlaine , Doctor Faustus or The
Jew of Malta —are of humble parentage, but they are endowed with great heroic qualities. His tragedy is in fact the tragedy of one man—the rise, fall and death of the tragic hero. His heroes are titanic characters afire with some indomitable passion or inordinate ambition. He was also inspired by the Machiavellian ideals of human conduct and desires, the doctrine of complete freedom to gain one’s end by any means, fair or foul. The entire interest in a Marlovian tragedy centres round the personality of the hero who is in a certain way of the projection of Marlowe, the dramatist who was generally saturated with the spirit of Renaissance with its great faith in individual, with its sky kissing ambition to gain limitless knowledge and power with its revolt against tyrannies. The old legend that a man could obtain supernatural power by selling his soul to devil found its climax in the sixteenth century in the person of Doctor Faustus who really lived in the first half of that century. This man was a wandering scholar who became notorious as a necromancer, braggart, and super-quack, who, abandoning the disinterested pursuit of knowledge in favour of its worldly exploitation, and attaining some temporary success, ultimately mate disaster. After his death, a book called

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