Sloth in the Renaissance.docx - A Look at Sloth in the Renaissance Literary Analysis of Marlowes Dr Faustus English 310 2 James David Carraway The

Sloth in the Renaissance.docx - A Look at Sloth in the...

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A Look at Sloth in the Renaissance:Literary Analysis of Marlowe’s Dr. FaustusEnglish 310
2James David CarrawayThe fourth cardinal sin, sloth, is depicted in Marlowe’s “The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus” in many ways. There is the obvious introduction of the character, Sloth, when Lucifer introduces Faustus to the Seven Deadly Sins. However, there is a constant display of sloth that sets Dr. Faustus on a path from which he is too lazy to return. This analysis of Dr. Faustus will take a look at how the sin of sloth was looked upon during the Renaissance, define the sin and role of sloth as it is depicted in this play, and reflect on the dramatic presentation of sloth in the play.During the period of the Renaissance, the act of sloth was also known as acedia. Acedia was viewed as “an occupational hazard among men of learning that [took] the form of a gradual withdrawal of motivation for [research] and an increasing alienation from science” (Zetterburg, 34). In the article “Scientific Acedia,” Zetterburg points out that “During the Middle Ages acediahad only a religious meaning. At that time the word stood for sloth…the state of not caring about one's salvation” (Zetterburg, 34). Sloth was viewed mainly as a mental problem, where it affected one’s academic studies. Although, there could have been certain social factors that played a part in influencing a person to display this lazy trait. In the case of Dr. Faustus, his inability to obtain any further knowledge or wisdom than was already published in books, led him not to conduct his own research into the matters of the world, but instead wish for someone (the devil) to fill his head with all of the facts in the world without him having to do any work forthat knowledge.

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