Image of Nature - Sample Essay

In a more simplistic way, the play deals with a story that has nothing to do with the Renaissance. In the doctor’s soliloquy in scene one, he says: Why the belike we must sin And so consequently die Here, Faustus refers to the bible story of Adam and Eve, and the original sin of man, where they were cast out of the Garden of Eden and forced to live and die. This story would have been well known in Marlowe’s time as one of the Medieval Mystery Plays, in which bible stories are presented in a way that an Elizabethan audience could relate to and understand.

They taught basic moral values that are still held in high regard today, like honesty and courage. The play is in essence, about a human being whose ambition and vision lead him to challenge the basic fundamental laws of the world around him. This type of story is common throughout literary history. If then, we ignore the historical context that Dr Faustus was written in, we can say it is a play dealing with human concerns, specifically with the common theme of man wanting more than is realistically possible.

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In Conclusion, it is obvious that both Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser were aware of the situation and feeling in England at the time they wrote their works. At a time when literature was heavily censored by the state, it is unsurprising that they show, if only slightly, support for the current regime and the ideology it stood for. However, like any other story, the tales of Dr Faustus and the Red Crosse Knight must contain some sort of human theme, or they simply wouldn’t be stories at all.

Marlowe was eventually charged with heresy and blasphemy for his views, but was killed under dubious circumstances before the warrant could be executed. I think that most Renaissance texts deal with Renaissance concerns, but only because most authors at the time would find it impossible to ignore the world around them. Like stories from any age, Renaissance texts deal primarily with human emotions and themes.


The Norton Anthology VII, Volume 1 D. Cheney, Spenser’s Image of Nature (1966) H. Levin, Christopher Marlowe: The Overreader (1954) R. Gill, Dr Faustus (1968) H. Gardener, The Tragedy of Damnation (1961)



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