Doctor Faustus, the titular character of Christopher Marlowe’s play, experiences an intense inner conflict throughout the story, as he struggles with the consequences of his decision to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. This conflict is central to the play’s theme and contributes significantly to the tragic arc of Faustus’s character.
At the beginning of the play, Faustus is dissatisfied with his current level of knowledge and desires to gain more. He feels that his current understanding of the world is limited and that he has not achieved anything significant in his life. He hopes that by gaining unlimited knowledge through his pact with the devil, he will be able to transcend the limitations of his mortal existence and achieve greatness. However, as the play progresses, Faustus begins to experience doubts and regrets about his decision.
Faustus’s inner conflict is rooted in his conflicting desires for knowledge and redemption. On the one hand, he craves knowledge and power, and believes that he can achieve great things by harnessing the power of the devil. On the other hand, he is deeply troubled by the prospect of eternal damnation and the loss of his soul. He realizes that his deal with the devil is a Faustian bargain, in which he gains temporary pleasures at the cost of his eternal damnation. He is torn between his desire for knowledge and his fear of the afterlife, and this conflict becomes increasingly intense as the play progresses.
Faustus’s inner conflict is also influenced by the characters around him. His good angel and bad angel represent the two sides of his conscience, each offering conflicting advice on what he should do. The good angel urges him to repent and seek redemption, while the bad angel tempts him with the pleasures of the devil. The conflict between the two angels mirrors Faustus’s own inner conflict, and he is torn between their advice.
Furthermore, Faustus is constantly reminded of the consequences of his decision by the characters he encounters, such as Mephistopheles and Lucifer. Mephistopheles, who serves as Faustus’s servant and guide to the devil’s world, reminds him of the horrors of hell and the fate that awaits him. Lucifer, the master of the underworld, mocks Faustus’s humanity and reminds him of the inevitability of his damnation. These encounters deepen Faustus’s inner conflict and increase his sense of despair.
In conclusion, Doctor Faustus’s inner conflict is a key aspect of his tragic character. He is torn between his desire for knowledge and power and his fear of eternal damnation, and this conflict intensifies as the play progresses. His struggle is influenced by the characters around him, including his good and bad angels and the demonic figures of the underworld. Ultimately, Faustus’s inner conflict drives him to his tragic end, as he is unable to reconcile his conflicting desires and finds himself trapped in a pact with the devil that he cannot escape.