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DOCTOR FAUSTUS DRAMATIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LAST SCENE

Marlowe is a great expert in painting the extreme agony and anguish in his scenes. Hence his death scenes in all the plays are memorable for its deep pathos and poignancy. The closing scene of Doctor Faustus shows the inevitable disaster in a very powerful manner. It shows the overwhelming destruction of a proud and inordinately ambitious soul that defied God and denounced Christianity, and surrendered himself to the Devil to gain divinity and to become ----- lord and commander to these elements. Marlowe reaches the most magnificent flights of imagination in the last scene of Doctor Faustus. The last hour soliloquy of Faustus is lyrically and dramatically intense passage that remains unsurpassed in the English dramatic literature. It is quite obvious that Marlowe draws the clash between Faustus Renaissance dreams and desires of limitless knowledge and power, and the medieval belief of the retribution which awaits the person who adopts means to get such ends. So we find that Faustus is caught between the medieval and the modern world and ultimately doomed and destroyed in clash between the different sets of values in the final scene. We notice that such human clashes are the heart of tragedy. The Christian sets of values ultimately prevail over the Renaissance dreams and desires, and the play ends with the solemn appeal from the Chorus urging us to learn lesson from the rise and tragic fall of Doctor Faustus. Faustus is gone; regard his hellish fall, Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise, Only to wonder at unlawful things Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits To practice more than heavenly power permits. After Faustus denounced the theology and surrendered to the Devil, the development of action of drama proceeds into deep dramatic irony as it is revealed before us and we realize that the play is shot through and through with dramatic irony. The grim irony reaches its climax in the last scene and the tragic heros last hour soliloquy reveals it most pathetically. what has happened now to this proud scholar of Wittenberg? This inordinate ambitious soul who dreamt of becoming Jove and commander of the elements is now an absolutely broken down personality and very ironically he wishes to be transformed even into a mean beast to escape eternal damnation. Just like a senseless child Faustus is now appealing to Fair natures eye to rise again and make a perpetual day. That Faustus may repent and save his soul We find him passionately appealing to God Whom he abjured to gain a deity: O God, If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul, Yet for Christs sake, whose blood hath ransomd me Impose some end to my incessant pain.

And when the last hour strikes, the agonized cry of the terror stricken soul met with its eternal doom. And damnation finds the most powerful expression in Faustuss final soliloquy in the closing scene: Oh, it strikes, it strikes; No body turn to air Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell; O soul, be changed into little water drops, And fall into the ocean, neer be found. Once the suffering of this hell was nothing but old wives tale to Faustus. The grim irony is most tragically revealed when we hear that the last words from the dying lips of Faustus are: Ah! Mephistopheles--- and then his soul is snatched away by Devils disciples to gaping ugly hell for eternal damnation. According to Richard B. Sewali, the end of Marlowes play shows, of course, that Faustus could not live out his idea. But, between the disillusioned scholar of the first scene and the agonizing, ecstatic figure of the final scene there is a difference. He enters not alone this time, but with the scholars and for the first time in the play he has normal, compassionate discourse with his fellows. His role of demigod over, he is human once more, a friend and befriended. Ah gentlemen, hear me with patience, says he who has but recently lorded it over all creation. His friends now seem sweeter than any princely delegate. Although the thrill of his exploits still lingers----And what wonders I have done all Germany can witness, yea the entire world---he is humble and repentant. He longs to be able to weep and pray but imagines in his despair that devils draw in his tears and hold his hands as he would lift them up. He confesses to the scholars the miserable source of his cunning. Knowing his doom is near, he refuses their intercession and bids them, talk not of me but save yourselves and depart. If to the orthodox it is more a sinners fate than a heros; there is something of the classic apotheosis in faustus final moments. He transcends the man he was. He goes out no craven sinner but violently, speaking the rage and despair of all mankind who would undo the past and stop the clock against the inevitable reckoning. Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven, That time may cease, and midnight never come.

Written & Composed by: Prof. A.R. Somroo M.A. English, M.A. Education Cell: +923339971417