Aristotle’s conception of a tragic hero was that of a man essentially human and noble but led astray by some excusable voice or error.
Faustus is the sort of personage of whom Aristotle would have approved as the hero of a tragedy. Aristotle’s conception of a tragic hero was that of a man essentially human and noble but led astray by some excusable voice or error. Marlow’s public would see in Faustus a man and a Christian like themselves carried too far by ambition and the love of pleasure. He is no radical unbeliever no natural met for the devil, he is not conscienceless, nor is he a heathen. On the contrary, he is a good protestant and holds manfully to all those part of the creed which expresses his spontaneous affection. A good angle is often overheard whispering in his ear and if the devil angle finally prevails, it is in spite of continual remorse and hesitation on Faustus’s part. This excellent Faustus is damned by accident or by pre-destination, he is browbeaten by the devil and forbidden to repent when he is really repented. The terror of the conclusion is thereby heightened we see an essentially good man drive against his will to despair and damnation because in a moment of infatuation he had signed his soul away.
Faustus is a chose of will power and importance, his proud and aspiring nature is expressed in the line in which he talks about his dominion stretching as far as doth the mind of man. The mind of man is the nearest thing in creation to infinity, but it is checked by nature. Man is limited not by his own nature but by the nature of the world that encloses him Marlow’s Faustus is not the victim of a straightforward temptation he is in danger of persecution at the beginning from nothing but his own sense of frustration, it can be argued that this is only a subtle form of temptation.
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