How does Faustus use the magical gifts that he receives? Essay
How does Faustus use the magical gifts that he receives?
Faustus is an extremely ambitious and clever man. This is seen to the extent that he sells his soul to fulfil his ambitions. He uses magic in order to strengthen his power and knowledge and thus this makes him dangerous. He is hubristic and aims to posses knowledge that no other mortal should have. In doing so he becomes synonymous to God. Faustus states “O what a world of profit and delight/Of power, of honour, of omnipotence/Is promis’d to the studious artisan!
” This is what he intends to do with the magical gifts he receives but it soon becomes clear that ultimately everything Faustus does is for his own selfish needs. By comparing himself to a ‘studious artisan’ he hopes to gain the recognition of a scholarly work however, he fails to understand that scholars study for personal enlightenment and not material gain. Therefore ultimately Faustus achieves nothing with his magical gifts throughout the whole play. He gains no wealth, no recognition and no delight from his magic.
Instead he condemns himself to death and illustrates that no man can ever be God as all men are fallible. Faustus’s attempts to use his magical gifts are futile and thus he gains nothing and is forever in debt to Mephostophilis. The pursuit of knowledge is directly linked with obtaining power. Faustus intends to acquire a greater intellect so that he can control everything. This is demonstrated by Faustus in Act one Scene one; “All things that move between the quiet poles/Shall be at my command. ” Faustus exemplifies his desire to be the master of all.
His reference to the quiet poles means that Faustus wants to rule the entire world, from North to South. The audience are reminded that Faustus is just a man; “Yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man,” however, he forgets his place in society. Faustus wants to use his magical gifts in order “to make men to live eternally/Or being dead raise them to life again. ” The magical gifts allow Faustus to take on the role of God and this hubristic nature and desire for power is his downfall. Significantly, everything Faustus says is only what he intends to do with the magical gifts.
He never does use the magical gifts to commit such acts and rather uses them for trivial acts such as comedy. This is illustrated in Act four Scene six when the Horse-Courser recounts his encounter with Faustus Dick and Robin. It is clear that Faustus has done nothing with the power that his magical gifts provide him with. Faustus also wants to use his magical gifts for his own pleasure and selfish needs. He aims to accomplish this by sending spirits to “search all corners of the new-found world/For pleasant fruits and princely delicates.
” This pleasure could result in pride for Faustus which is what he claims that he wants at the beginning of the play. More importantly he considers himself worthy of these ‘princely delicates’ and thus forgets his place in society. The pleasure of these new found objects shows the material gain from his magic rather than personal enlightenment. Thus this demonstrates that Faustus uses his magical gifts not as a scholar but as a sorcerer for his own pleasure and happiness. In addition, Faustus wishes to be pleasured sexually exploring the woman for new treasures.
This is evident in Faustus’s conversation with Valdes in Act one Scene one. However, once again Faustus wishes are not fulfilled and his dreams are only lived in words. It is once again apparent that Faustus does not use his magical gifts at all. The magical gifts allow Faustus direct power in order to conquer the world; “And reign sole king of all our provinces. ” He is obsessed with the idea of reigning supreme and become omnipotent just like God. Faustus has no intention to use his magical gifts for good omitting to mention any wish of helping the poor and poverty stricken people in Germany.
His only aim is to become a ‘mighty God. ‘ This ultimate power means that there is a clear distinction between Faustus and the rest of the characters in the play; a divide between mortal and god. Thus Faustus’s power enables him to obtain considerable fame for his astonishing magic. He wishes to “be eterniz’d for some wondrous cure” demonstrating his desire to be remembered forever. His magical gifts do not allow Faustus to become immortal and it is only in literature that he becomes immortalised.
One final aspect that Faustus wishes to achieve with the magical gifts is wealth. He could be a physician and “heap up gold,” or “ransack the ocean for orient pearl. ” Wealth is another way in which Faustus could gain power. Faustus’s obsession with wealth also illustrates his materialistic attitude. Knowledge in Faustus’s eyes is only another form of wealth like money. He takes no pleasure in making himself a better person. Once again by the end of the play Faustus has not achieved wealth and this is another example of how he has in fact not used his magical gifts.
Throughout the play it is evident that Faustus wishes to use the magical gifts to gain power, knowledge, wealth and immortality. He aims to be a creature that is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent and thus his desire is to be god. He becomes obsessed with using his magical gifts to achieve this and continually speaks about all his ideas. However, his dreams never become a reality as he never attempts to actually pursue his desires and use the magical gifts. Instead Faustus uses his magical gifts merely as a comedic tool therefore demonstrating the weakness of his character.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 July 2017
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