Theme of Redemption in Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

The Tragic Life and history of Doctor Faustus are a celebrated play by the great English playwright of England. The plot of the play deals with the Christian religious beliefs such as sin, redemption, and damnation. The protagonist, Dr. Faustus of the play sells his soul to Lucifer for the acquisition of knowledge and power. Although the play has many events in which Dr. Faustus has shown enjoying his newly gained power and knowledge but there are also many events in which Dr. Faustus is constantly overcome by his inner conscious provoking him to repent and ask the mercy of God. 

The whole plot of the play has many instances in which Dr. Faustus is instructed either by the good angel on his shoulder or by other good people to stop his sinful journey and ask God’s forgiveness.

Doctor Faustus

Dr. Faustus is a well-respected German scholar; however, he grows insecure with the limitation of traditional knowledge and seeks more. His friends, Valdes and Cornelius suggested him to learn black magic.

He learns a few black magic tricks and summons Mephastophilis, Lucifer’s assistant devil, to ask him to tell his master that he is willing to sell his soul to Lucifer’s service and wants 24 years of immense knowledge and power in return.

As time passes, Faustus’s conscience keeps on tossing inside him, asking him to repent, but Faustus turns a blind eye to it and delays his repentance.

According to the Christian believe, if one asks God’s forgiveness, he will be granted His mercy no matter how grave his sin is. Faustus is provided with many chances and his good angel on his shoulder keeps reminding him about the mercy of God. He is constantly told that he can still ask for forgiveness and save his soul to be burned in hell after death. The moment Faustus starts to become weak, Lucifer and Mephastophilis come and entertained him and enjoy his sinful life. Faustus never redeems and the devils never allow him to redeem. The night before the expiration of 24-years deal with Lucifer, Faustus is asked by an old person to repent, the person is like an emissary of God asking Faustus to seek God’s mercy, but he ignores him and again indulges in his black magic and entertain his guest scholars by summoning Helen of Troy. And the night comes when he has to be punished for his wrong doings. Only if he has redeemed, his sins would have been forgiven and he would have been saved from a tragic end.