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Thread: Old man in Dr. Faustus

  1. #1
    Heaven's light arabian night's Avatar
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    Old man in Dr. Faustus

    Do you think the old man in Dr. faustus is the voice of his conscience...Or the old Man is a minor character That Marlowe used as an external voice of people around Faustus
    Last edited by arabian night; 05-04-2006 at 01:50 PM.
    "The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life: Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!"
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  2. #2
    Heathcliff's Foil Morad's Avatar
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    Well, I'm having it this semester, I'm reading the act 1.

    I'll reply as soon as I read it. BTW: I'm from Jordan and arabian as I see from your profile
    Our souls might be separated though your smell still there ..
    Since you'd gone everything turned dark for me ..
    Did you remember my words I said downstairs ..

    Now everything has come to an end .. But your memory still lives as long as your magical eyes can bear!

    Syoof.[/SIZE][/COLOR]

  3. #3
    Heaven's light arabian night's Avatar
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    Good luck Morad in studying it ..and enjoy it...i really enjoyed reading Dr faustus
    "The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life: Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!"
    Robert Browning

  4. #4
    What's in a name......
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    We see the Good angel and the Bad angel in the play as being the projections of Faustus' own psychological state. Towards the end, the old man seems to enter the play in place of the angels. However, interestingly, when the two angels appear again, they seem to be saying the same thing. Even the good angel now says that faustus is damned and will go to hell and all that. If we believe in the christian doctrine of all-benevolent God, there is still scope for faustus' redemption. However, The good angel doesn't seem to uphold this.
    I see this as another instance that validates seeing the two angels as faustus's wavering conscience. Faustus totally believes that he is damned and beyond God's mercy. And the good angel reiterates this. And the old man, the new voice of good is distinguished from the angels. he is not the third angel or something like that but a man and an old one at that.
    I think that he does represent a part of Fustus' conscience, but a part which is no longer a part of the whole. It is detached and shrivelled. also, it does not register itself in faustus' mind. All he can do is stand by and watch faustus participate in his own damnation. i see the old man as the 'good' part of faustus' conscience that Faustus himself, perhaps unaware has ousted.
    Existence is not only temporary, it is pointless.

  5. #5
    'O! I am Fortune's fool'
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    I agree with littlelit but I also believe that Mephostophilis may have used the old an as another plan to make sure he does not repent. This happens because of Faustus' megalomaniacal insanity and jealousy towards the old man free and christian soul. Faustus is scared of repentance - as he believes God may not forgive him, but is also scared of the torture he will suffer with Lucifer, The old man, representative of a devout Christian soul, the opposite of Faustus' wayward soul, is immune to Mephostophilis harm because of his goodness.
    The old man could also be a kind of 'representative from God' (you can find you own word for it!) or the good part of Faustus' conscience, and although he realizes that Faustus seems to superficially be enjoying his damned power and wealth, he is actually struggling with whether he should repent or condemn his soul to Lucifer. This is especially prominent when the old man says to Faustus "Though thou hast now offended like a man, do not persever in it like a devil."
    Although some may pity the old man in the play, as he can be played as poor and in pain as he begs for Faustus to repent, it is really Faustus who is to be pited. As he isnt just a symbolic shell of the evil in man, but he has feelings and emotions, but unfortunately his humanity was not enough to save him from the depths of hell.
    "The real life is the life we do not lead." - Wilde

  6. #6
    I am trying to read the play from different perspective and what ı see is that it is the duty of angels to persuade 'Dr. Faustus' to render a good or a bad decision, however it does not make 'the audiences' think about the decision of Dr. Faustus so much. Therefore a 'man', ı mean ‘a human being' comes and discharges good angel's duty and shows the audiences that Dr. Faustus made a wrong decision. Because not an angel but a human being is more persuasive, it could be more perceptible and compelling for audiences and also for Dr. Faustus to think about Faustus' actions.
    Here comes a question: why Marlowe chooses an old man? It was a discussion question in my literature course and majority of the class said that it is because of matureness. An old man has more experience than a young man, so not a young man but an old man will be more useful in this play.

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