Dr. Faustus Reflects the Spirits of Renaissance
Introduction: The Renaissance gave birth a new age in England. It cleared off the cobwebs of ignorance and superstition. It made the way clear for the diffusion of new thoughts and new ideals. It developed the passion for knowledge infinite and love for more and more power. Deep learning began to find flavour. People of this age began to take interest in the exploration of new world and in the adventure. Literature, music, dance and mirth played a significant role in the general life of the people of this age. Interest in science, nature and geography stirred the people of the age.
Dr. Faustus: The Renaissance inspired the writers of the age to give expressions to the values that the Renaissance had brought in its wake. Marlowe also showed his love for the Renaissance spirit. His Dr. Faustus reflects all the important features of the Renaissance. The hero of the play is a great Renaissance figure. His career may be described as the 'Microcosm of Renaissance humanism'. In fact, Marlowe's Faustus has the restless curiosity, riotous imagination and the audacious desires.
Passion for Knowledge and Power: Passion for knowledge and power was a very important feature of the Renaissance. Dr. Faustus reflects this spirit. The hero of this play, Faustus, was born in a low family but he was endowed with the natural gift of a brilliant mind. He received university education and got doctorate in Theology. He mastered all the sciences of the time. But this could not quench his thirst for knowledge and power. Thus one by one he dismissed all subjects and decided to study magic. He believed that 'a sound magician is a mighty God'. For the sake of acquiring knowledge he sold even his soul to the Devil. Thus the character of Faustus reflects one of the important features of Renaissance.
Interest in the Exploration of New World: Dr. Faustus deals with interest in the exploration of new world and in trade and commerce. Faustus wants to have power over the spirits. He wants to have them fly to India for gold and to ransack the ocean for orient pearl. Like all Renaissance men Dr. Faustus shows his interest to the quest for new regions beyond the seas. He wants to grasp:
"From America the golden fleece
That yearly stuffs old Philip's treasury."
Love for Books: Deep learning was one of the important characteristics of the Renaissance. People of this period were fond of books. We find the clear reflection of this Renaissance spirit in the character of Dr. Faustus. He was fond of Aristotle's work. He studied a lot of books on theology, philosophy, medicine, law, logic, physics, and economics. The metaphysics of magicians and books of Necromancy were heavenly to him.
Interest in Science, Nature and Geography: Interest in science, nature and geography stirred the people of the Renaissance age. This spirit is clearly reflected in Dr. Faustus. Faustus knows that the year is divided into two circles over the whole world. When it is winter in one circle, there is summer in the other. He gets information of the entire universe from Mephistopheles. At one place he says:
Who knows not the double motion of the planets?
The first is finished in a natural day; ....
Some other Features: Apart from the above-mentioned features, we get many other features of the Renaissance in Dr. Faustus. Like all Renaissance men, Faustus tried to make impossible possible. He made several inquiries from Mephistopheles. The spirit of inquiry was a dominant trait of the Renaissance. Like all Renaissance men he loved music, dance, mirth and beauty. And that's why he wants to see Helen.
Conclusion: Thus, Dr. Faustus is an excellent play. It deals with the spirit of the age. It clearly reflects a lot of important features of the Renaissance.