Hamlet And Dr. Faustus: Questioning Term Paper

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Mythology Type: Term Paper Paper: #37253946 Related Topics: Elizabethan Theatre, Elizabethan Theater, Hamlet, Revenge
Excerpt from Term Paper :

He tests the ghost's word by staging a play that will replicate the method by which Claudius killed his father, and swears he'll "take the ghost's word at a thousand pound," but rather than engage in bloody violence like a savage, he cannot bear to stab Claudius in the back (III.2). Instead, he constructs a feeble excuse as to why he cannot, showing that for Hamlet, the ethics of revenge, if not Claudius' evil are always in doubt. For Faustus, the power of not being seen, of play-acting and pageantry and the ability to have power over another man of life and death are never with a higher purpose, and also never to be ignored and not taken advantage of: "But now, that Faustus may delight his minde,/and by their folly make some merriment,/Sweet Mephasto: so charme me here,/That I may walke inuisible to all, and doe what ere I please, vnseene of any" (III.2).

The ability to doubt and to question both the supernatural and his own character above all else is what makes Hamlet a more interesting character, and a more moral individual than Faustus in contemporary as well as Renaissance terms. Faustus, given the power of invisibility, joyfully torments the Pope for fun, while Hamlet's invisibility inspires the prince to muse about the ethics of his apparently duty-bound task to kill. Hamlet goes back and forth, at once whipping himself into a state of vengeance upon the sight of Fortinbras who is going to war for a tiny patch of land in the name of his father's

...

Faustus' selfish quest ultimately reveals him to be a man impressed with shallow beauty and trinkets and power, not insight, although he claimed to have exhausted the libraries of Wittenberg. Faustus never sought out what was right; he sought only to please himself. With ultimate power, Faustus plays jokes on the Pope and conjures up images of sinfulness, and when given a choice between salvation and desire, he chooses a false image of Helen: "Her lips sucke forth my soule, see where it flies" (5.1)

Hamlet realizes that murder only leads to more murder, thus he says "let be," when called to a duel, and when he enacts vengeance, it is more in self-defense rather than in cold, calculated vengeance, or stabbing a man in the back. Although Hamlet dies, he dies in triumph, knowing that Horatio will reveal the truth to the world of what happened to his father. Caught in an evil world of court intrigue, Hamlet at least dies a moral man, a man who has given his life significance because of his ability to question the ethics that govern his society, even seem to govern the world beyond. Faustus, in contrast, claims not to be satisfied with the rewards of knowledge gained from books, but uses his intellect in a way that leads him down a path of hollow pleasures, and ultimately damnation. His damnation is evident from the first moment he sells his soul, but Hamlet's moral position is always unclear, much like moral decisions in the world outside of the theater.

Works Cited

Marlowe, Christopher. The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus (B text) Edited by Hilary Binda.

Tufts University Retrieved 7 Feb 2008 at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.03.0011&query=act%3D%231

Shakespeare, William. "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." The Shakespeare

Homepage: MIT University. Retrieved 7 Feb 2008 at http://shakespeare.mit.edu/hamlet

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Marlowe, Christopher. The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus (B text) Edited by Hilary Binda.

Tufts University Retrieved 7 Feb 2008 at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.03.0011&query=act%3D%231

Shakespeare, William. "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." The Shakespeare

Homepage: MIT University. Retrieved 7 Feb 2008 at http://shakespeare.mit.edu/hamlet


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