Free will versus fate is a theme visible right from the beginning of the play

Free will versus fate is a theme visible right from the beginning of the play by Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.. It starts with Faustus contemplating his area of study. “To practice magic and concealed arts: Yet not your words only, but mine own fantasy, That will receive no object; for my head But ruminates on necromantic skill. Philosophy is odious and obscure; Both law and physic are for petty wits;  Divinity is basest of the three, Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile: ’Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish’d me” (Marlowe). From this moment at the start of the play, we can see that Faustus does, in fact, utilize free will. He makes it clear at this point that he is unwavering in his decision to choose his next steps by gallivanting toward magic over the other mentioned studies. However, these choices Faustus makes lead him to lose his free will at the hands of Lucifer. Free will shifts to fate in this story after Faustus signs his soul over to the devil. “The devil will come, and Faustus must be damn’d. O, I’ll leap up to my God!—Who pulls me down?— See, see, where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament! One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah, my Christ!” (Marlowe). Upon realizing his imminent damnation his decision had led him to, Faustus tries to call out to God for mercy. Of course Faustus realizes the error of his choices and accepts that he has lost free will and surrenders to Hell with the devil.


The Role of power, I feel, starts at the beginning of the play; it is obvious who and what the energy is coming from. Faustus has ideas of what he would do with all the power he is going to be given or is coming soon. Faustus imagines the vast amount of wealth; he also begins drawing on the map of the continents he wishes to form a land on and to be his. Faustus is also answering the mysteries of the universe and the galaxy we are placed upon. In this play, Faustus also realizes the powers he does not possess, and the ability to make time stop was hard for him to accept; he regrets many choices and his sins. In this play, you can tell that there are times when Faustus gets cocky with his power but also has second thoughts about his power; there are also times when he will stop at nothing to gain the control Faustus feels deserves. Still, to achieve that power, there are expenses he needs to pay to receive the power he so willingly wants to have. Throughout the story, you will also see that he wants to be heroic and has a sense of respect in his efforts to gain control. In his efforts, he uses jokes and magic to hurt people who don’t deserve it and then makes him evil and wicked, showing everyone how much of a coward and weak he is. as it stated in the play,

“He surfeits upon cursed necromancy.

Nothing so sweet as magic is to him,

Which he prefers before his chiefest bliss:

And this the man that in his study sits.” (Robinson), he loved using magic and is something that he regretted greatly because he abused the power he was given, and like is said before it showed just how evil he was and the This power wasn’t deserved, and it was getting taken by him because of his own choices. In times like these you cant take advantage of something that is supposed to be a gift to you , and you cant take advantage of the power as well.

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