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Christopher Marlowes The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus is a playthat touches on the theme of the limitations of human knowledge throughthe ambitions of the plays overreaching protagonist John FaustusMarlowes play is derived from an older German story that tells the taleof Doctor Faustus selling his soul to the devil but Marlowes DoctorFaustus is significantly different than the German story Marlowes playis significant because the protagonists damnation is set in motionthrough his unsatisfied thirst for knowledge a thirst that conventionalscholarship does not quench In order to cull his curiosity DoctorFaustus turns to black magic and the devil Doctor Faustus sells hissoul to Lucifer for knowledge In the context of 16th century humanismand its effect on the curriculum to take a more secular approachMarlowes play is a warning of the pitfalls of a humanistic pedagogyThrough analyzing certain characters relationship to each other and theends they expect from knowledge Marlowes Doctor Faustus becomes apejorative commentary on the aspirations of a humanistic erudition astold from the lips of WagnerFirst thing to remember the end of Elizabethan learning was toprepare individuals for better service to both God and the stateMcCullen 7 In this context Dr Faustus misses the mark from the verybeginning of the play To demonstrate his misconception of learningsend Faustus dismisses the significance of learning logic when he saysIs to dispute well logics chiefest end Affords this art no greatermiracle Then read no more thou hast attaind the end Marlowe118-10 Similarly Faustus evinces the futility in learning medicinewhen he says Couldst thou make men to live eternally Or beingdead raise them to life again Then this profession were to beesteemd Marlowe 1124-26 Furthermore Faustus skewed line ofreasoning leads him to discount the study of law when he says Thisstudy fits a mercenary drudge Who aims at nothing but external trash - Too servile and illiberal for me Marlowe 1134-36 To saynothing of his denunciations of conventional studies Faustus finallyarticulates his
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