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1AnielloHaley AnielloDr. WaltonEnglish 12 H15 November 2012The Relations Between Christopher Marlowe and Dr. FaustusIn literature, it is becoming more and more common to find connections between fictional characters and the writers who created them. It is said that there is always a little piece of the artist reflected in his or her work, and I think that Christopher Marlowe and Dr. Faustus are absolutely no exception. In Christopher Marlowe’s Elizabethan Tragedy, Dr. Faustus, we see the image of the Renaissance overreacher. An overreacher is seen as someone who oversteps their boundaries, in efforts to exceed the norm and go beyond their limited potential. Like in the famous story of Icarus, who takes advantage of his power and eventually drives himself into his own destruction, Faustus is a man who cannot see his limits and ends up going too far and driving himself straight into his fate. Interestingly, Marlowe himself exhibits the many of the same characteristics as presented in his character Faustus. In many ways, Christopher Marlowe is reflected in his character Dr. Faustus. Both Marlowe and his fictional alter ego, Dr. Faustus, are similar in their lifestyle, their education, and ultimately their wasted potential.When comparing Christopher Marlowe’s childhood and education to that of Dr. Faustus’s, multiple similarities are seen. It is known that Christopher Marlowe grew up in a low status and poor family around the mid-1500’s. “Marlowe’s father, John, was a shoemaker by trade and his shop was also located in the parish” (Marlowe Society). A
2shoemaker, at the time, was a low-income job that probably just brought in enough to support the bare essentials of the Marlowe family. In Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, we find out early on that Faustus was also born into a life of poverty and low wealth. “Now he is born, his parents base of stock” (Faustus. Prologue. 12). This is a clear sign that Faustus grew up in a family of low social status, just like that of Marlowe. Continuing on sequentially into Marlowe’s childhood, we venture into the multiple periods of school and education that Marlowe was a part of. Beginning in 1579, Christopher Marlowe entered the King’s School in Canterbury on behalf of a scholarship awarded to him by Matthew Parker, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This scholarship was given to the students who intended on focusing on the study of Holy Orders, though we don’t see much of that coming from Marlowe. Marlowe eventually proceeded on to study at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge in 1587. When looking at Faustus’s education, there are many protruding similarities to the education acquired by Marlowe. Faustus attended a school by the name of Wittenberg University. Faustus was able to attend Wittenberg because a relative of his gave him a scholarship that granted him entry into this university. With both Marlowe and Faustus coming from a poor background, these scholarships may have been the only way for them to achieve the higher level of education that they both got. Both Marlowe and Faustus were able to go to excellent