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Dr. Faustus Essay: A Historicism Approach to Doctor Faustus

A Historicism Approach to Doctor Faustus

A young man studies theology his entire life and in turn receives his Doctrine in this field. One lonesome and desperate night, he decides to ignore God and fulfill his deepest desires. Hence, he conjures up a servant of Lucifer and agrees to sell his soul only if he can receive whatever or whomever he desires. This is the story of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.

Doctor Faustus is a doctor of theology that wants no limits on what he can know or see or do so he sells his soul to the devil to gain these desires. While reading or observing Marlowe’s fascinating play the reader or observer should apply the “New Historicism Approach,” and take in to consideration Marlowe’s and the 1590s society’s beliefs, habits of thought, and biases about various concepts of obtaining the “forbidden knowledge”. Like the people of the 1590s, Doctor Faustus searches for the “forbidden knowledge”, begins to deny God during his quest for greater knowledge, and gains nothing from his vain activities throughout his lifetime. After these listed characteristics have been established one can begin to visualize the relationship between Marlowe’s, Doctor Faustus and the beliefs and thoughts of the people of the 1590s.

Christopher Marlowe uses his eager character, Doctor Faustus, to display the people of the 1590s deep desire to grasp the “forbidden knowledge.” A doctor of theology, one that unseemingly knows everything about his study of religion begins to inquire about the enhancement of his knowledge: “Negromantic books are heavenly; Lines, circles, letters, characters-Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires” (Act I: Scene I: Line 48-5…

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…hether or not they should have published or talked about their findings arouse in their minds. Therefore, just as Faustus regrets his actions so do the people of the 1590s regret their discovers’ impression on others of their time.

Summing up Christopher Marlowe’s conceptions about the people of the 1590s through Doctor Faustus are clearly established when using the historicism approach. Persons of the later centuries’ societies, such as Charles Darwin and Galileo, can be related to Doctor Faustus and looked upon as a Faust figure because in many ways their characteristics are alike. One can very well observe that the people of the 1590s just as Doctor Faustus lead several searches for the “forbidden knowledge” that lead to the unimaginable. These very attempts to obtain the unobtainable caused their loss of faith in God and gain of fewer benefits.

Merchant of Venice Essay: Universal Elements

The Universal Elements of Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice contains many themes and elements that are considered timeless or universal. Samuel Taylor Coleridge defines a timeless or universal element as a “representation of men in all ages and all times.” A universal element is relevant to the life of every human being – it is universal. The first major theme that plays an important role in the play is the Christians’ prejudice against the Jews. A second important theme is the attitude toward money. Perhaps the most important theme of the play is the love between people. This love can occur between the same sex, or the opposite sex, platonic or romantic. In Merchant of Venice, the three timeless elements are prejudice, money, and love.

The first theme is that religious intolerance and prejudice play destructive roles in the book. Even to this day, there is racism and prejudice in schools about race and religion. Antonio, as a true Christian, has often condemned moneylenders. He knows that since the early twelfth century, Christians are forbidden by the Church to lend money for profit. Shylock, as a Jew, does not consider his money-lending and overwhelming interest to be a sin in any manner. In fact, he considers his earnings through money lending as the gift of God. He appeals to and quotes the Scriptures in defense of his profession. Shylock and the other Jewish moneylenders are essential to the prosperity of the merchant community, but they are also outcasts as human beings and as Jews. Shylock often shows his dislike to the Christians; “I hate him for he is a Christian”, (Act I, Sc. III, L. 38). The Christians ridicule and hate the Jewish moneylende…

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…o, who she cares about for the sake of Bassanio. Jessica gives up her family ties to marry Lorenzo. Even Gratiano and Nerissa are devoted to one another. The play is truly about the happiness that true love brings.

In this play, three timeless elements that are very relevant today and throughout history are prejudice, money, and love. Shakespeare included many examples of all these themes in his play. Bassanio, Antonio, Gratiano, Lorenzo, Portia, and Shylock are the main representatives of these themes. You could take anyone in history and compare him or her to anyone in this play. An example of this would be the prejudice and mean spirit that both Shylock and Hitler share. Shakespeare did a very good job showing these elements in real life scenarios. Samuel Taylor Coleridge put it perfectly; this play is a “representation of men in all ages and all times.”

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