The Seven Deadly Sins
This extract is taken from the play Doctor Faustus, written by Christopher Marlowe, from line 105 to line 185 (2.3 105-185).
The action is taking place in Faustus’s study. Lucifer, Beelzebub and Mephistopheles are with Faustus. Lucifer and Beelzebub are here to entertain Faustus and to prevent him to think of god. Hehad doubts about god, hell and damnation so they are going to entertain him to make him believe to other things. How is this extract a reflection of Faustus’s personality?
Fist, we are going to explain that sins are in a way the Mirror of humanity, then, we are going to show the mise en abyme in this extract and finally we are going to underline the desecration of religion
Faustus is impressedbut also pleased to have Lucifer in his study. The entertainment is a play directed by Beelzebub where it’s introduced the Seven Deadly Sins which are Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth and Lechery.
They represent what in the worst in the human nature, but also what is the most dangerous, indeed, they can lead men to their fall if they are too proud or to envious for example.Moreover, the denomination the “Seven Deadly Sins” is showing us that they are dangerous; indeed, the word “deadly” is a derivative of the world “death”, so it means that these sins can lead men to death, to spiritual.
Furthermore, in the Christian religion, the sinners, in full who commit sins cannot have the salvation of their soul and they will go to hell.
Once more the sins are linked withdanger. Besides, the Seven Deadly Sins are appearing as bad and repulsive; indeed, the first one to speak : Pride, refuses to talk more to Faustus if they ground is not performed and covered with a cloth “ I’ll not speak a word more […] unless the ground be performed and covered with cloth of Arras” l.122-124.
Here Pride is considering itself as superior to Faustus and considers that he deserves aspecial treatment.
Those sins appear as a very repulsive and Faustus despises them; indeed – “out, Envious wretch” l.139.
But on the other hand, he is pleased of the show and he is having a great time.
Here danger is present but hidden and Faustus does not notice the kind of warning that the sins embody – they are warning Faustus on what can lead him to the fall.
Besides, this entertaining aspectof the show and the declarations of Lucifer can be compared to temptation; indeed, Lucifer and Beelzebub are trying to tempt Faustus in order to keep him in hell and to keep his soul, by promising him a life full of pleasures and entertainment.
Faustus reacts for only three sins – Gluttony, Pride, Envy – he reacts because he has those sins in him (Gluttony of power and knowledge). Faustus doesnot realize that those sins are a moral Mirror of Humanity. He does not get the moral lesson.
Last, Faustus seems to be afraid of these sins because in a way with these sins he can see the reflection of himself, nevertheless he does not become aware of danger, he watches the show outside.
The entertainment is a play directed by Beelzebub, he introduces the Seven Deadly Sins. Faustus is the onlyspectator and we are the spectator of Faustus watching the play. So, there is a mise en abyme. Faustus is very pleased to see the play but he’s not only a spectator, but also an actor. Indeed, Beelzebub asks him to interact with the sins.
Lines, l.111 “But mark the show” and l.74 “Away to hell! Away!” introduce the show before the arrival of the actors, and close it once they left as if theywere some chorus of a play within a play. Moreover, a few signs show us that the reader faces a scene of comedy, that is to say a comedy within the tragedy of Faustus. There is a comedy for example because of names used by Gluttony “My father was a gammon of bacon, and my mother was a hogshead of claret wine.” l.152-153 and with insults given by Faustus to sins “glutton” l.163, “Mistress” l170,...
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