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Discuss How the Passage Contributes to the Portrayl of Faustus as a Tragic Hero Essay

Discuss how the passage contributes to the portrayal of Faustus as a tragic hero, paying particular attention to Marlowe’s use of language. Marlowe uses language in the passage from Act Five, Scene One to portray Faustus as a tragic hero, his use of the techniques; enjambment, metaphors and rhythm show this portray.

Marlowe uses enjambement to show Faustus as a tragic hero because he now regrets his choice to sell his soul this is shown in line 86-87, ‘whose sweet embracing may extinguish clean these thoughts that do dissuade me from my vow’ although Marlowe has written these as an attempt to blackmail Mephistopheles, the use of enjambement makes the line sound rushed which makes it sound more like a desperate plea thus showing how much Faustus regrets his decision, since this is near the end of the play this is suggesting that Faustus fears eternal suffering rather than actual remorse.

Faustus asks for Helen to come to him to be his ‘paramour’ this suggests that Faustus is using his sexual desire in order to ‘shut out the truth that he cannot face’ again showing his fears of eternal suffering this shows Faustus as a tragic hero because he now regrets selling his soul to Lucifer and he can do nothing to stop his fate. Marlowe uses metaphors in order to show Faustus as a tragic hero as he shows Faustus’s desire to win back his soul even though he will not prevail. In line 95, ‘her lips suck forth my soul. See where it flies! shows Faustus desire to be free as flying is used as a connotation for freedom however the line also foreshadows the ending of the play as he is dragged in to hell, showing that Faustus is a tragic hero as he desires control over his soul again but will not be triumphant. The line 102-103 ‘yea I will wound Achilles in the heel and then return to Helen for a kiss’ is a metaphor used to show Faustus’s desire to win in the battle with Lucifer. Marlowe uses Achilles who had one weakness to show Faustus’s struggle and his desire to regain control of his soul in order to avoid eternal suffering thus depicting Faustus as a tragic hero.

Marlowe uses rhythm of the play to show how quickly Faustus’s fate approaches him. In lines 98-99 Marlowe uses the image of a fast paced war to show Faustus will not win the battle for his soul ‘I will be Paris, and for love thee instead of Troy shall Wittenberg be sacked’ Faustus compares himself to Paris who was defeated in the battle of Troy, this foreshadows the ending of the play as it is Faustus who loses the battle for his conscience as it is now too late to repent.

Marlowe also uses enjambement in this line to show the fast paced rhythm the way one line tumbles into the next shows time speeding up showing Faustus as a tragic hero. Marlowe uses certain techniques in language in order to portray Faustus as a tragic hero as he cannot change his fate even though he wishes to through enjambement, metaphors and rhythm.


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