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Use of Allegory
and Symbolism in
Doctor Faustus.
Assignment Made by Group no. 1.
Group Members:
Leader: Aleena Farooq – Roll no. 07.
Samia Azhar – Roll no. 17.
Hira Asim – Roll no. 22.
Laraib Nadeem – Roll no. 30.
Sadaf Jamal – Roll no. 36.
Zulaikha Hameed – Roll no. 39.
Faiza Gill – Roll no. 46.
Aleena Farooq.
Roll No. 07.
• Brief Introduction:-
• The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus,
is a play by Christopher Marlowe, in
which Dr. Faustus sells his soul to the
devil for power, experience, pleasure
and knowledge.
• Doctor Faustus was first published in
1604, eleven years after Marlowe's
death and at least 10 years after the first
performance of the play.
What is an allegory?
In Greek, ‘Allegoria’
means to imply something
else. Allegory is just a
form of art presenting a
second meaning beneath
the surface meaning.
It is:
 Form of extended metaphor.
 Characters having symbolic
meaning as well as literal
meaning.
 Personification of abstract
qualities.
Hence, the reader of an allegory is
expected to get not only the
apparent or surface meaning of
Why do authors use allegory?
 To teach moral lessons.
 To explain universal truths.
All Morality plays in English literature
are more or less allegorical. We also
get allegories in the form of prose,
poetry or drama.
Spenser’s ‘Fairie Queene’, Dante’s
‘Divine Comedy’ and Swift’s ‘Tale of a
Tub’ are outstanding works in this form
of art.
Moral Allegory in Dr.
Faustus:
A close and critical study of
Doctor Faustus enables us to go
deeper and get the hidden truth or
moral allegory of the play that
relates “the form of Faustus’
fortunes good or bad.”
It has a moral allegory of universal
significance.
The mournful monody of the
Chorus makes the moral allegory
of the play crystal clear:
“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 practise more than heavenly power
permits.”
MORALITY IN THE PLAY:
Brief description of the elements of
morality in the play is:
The battle over the spirit, waged by a
Good Angel and a Bad Angel.
The parade of the Seven Deadly Sins.
The potential for salvation, which exists
until Faustus finally surrenders to
despair and gives up all hope of being
able to repent.
Description in detail:
The introduction of the devices of
the Miracle and Morality plays,
such as:
The Good and Bad Angels, the
Devils, the Old Man, The Seven
Deadly Sins etc., clearly points
out the moral and allegorical
SamiaAzhar.
Roll No. 17.
(i) Significance of the Good and
the Evil Angel (Two Angels and a
Tragic Conflict):
It should be noted that there is hardly
any external action in the play.
We find that the real action presented
in the play is the spiritual conflict within
the soul of the hero—a conflict between
law and desire, religion and skepticism,
or between curiosity and conscience.
 The Good and Evil Angels also appear in
the play with their own symbolic significance
personifying the two aspects of Faustus’
character.
 The former stands for order, virtue or
goodness and the latter represents the
baser spirit of Faustus, his indomitable
passions and desires.
 One stands for his conscience and the
other, his curiosity for ‘unlawful things.”
 It may be noted that Marlowe is quite
original in the use of his angels and they
Hira Asim.
Roll No. 22.
(ii) Significance of Helen and the Old
Man:
 Faustus’ fascination for Helen reveals
the Renaissance characteristic of
love and adoration of classical art and
beauty, Helen epitomizes the charms
of classical art, learning and beauty.
 And her shade or spirit may also be
the symbol of sensual pleasures of
life which are but transitory, and lead
to despair and damnation.
The Old Man represents Christian faith
with its obedience to laws of God and
its need for prayer and penitence that
can assure eternal joy and bliss.
The Old Man also represents another
moral aspect; that is one who has firm
faith in God can boldly face the
temptations and tortures presented by
the forces of Evil and
‘can ascend to heaven while the fiends
sink back into hell.’
Sadaf Jamal
Roll No. 36.
(iii) Significance of the Show of the
Seven Deadly Sins:
 We have this display of Seven Deadly Sins
in the second scene of Act II.
 This spectacle also shows that Marlowe in
his Doctor Faustus adopted some of the
pacts of the old Morality plays.
 So, the Seven Deadly Sins—Pride,
Covetousness, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, Sloth
and Lechery—of good old Morality plays are
also very much here in this play in a grand
spectacle to cheer up the wavering and
dejected soul of Doctor Faustus.
Symbolically, it means Faustus’ horrible
surrender to these deadly sins who lead to
the path of hell.
In fact the sins are already there in his soul
and the show of the sins simply symbolizes
or externalizes them.
Another point to note is that Pride leads the
parade.
In fact Pride deserves this, as Pride is the
worst vice that brings about the downfall.
And Faustus was puffed up with pride to fly
too near the Sun with ‘waxen wings’ to bring
about his own ultimate doom and damnation.
 The show is not meant for any comic relief but is
really meant for bringing back Faustus to the path of
hell when he was much irritated by Mephistophilis
for not giving right answers to some of his questions
related to the creation of this universe.
 And we find Lucifer, Belzebub along with
Mephistophilis appearing on the stage, the moment,
Faustus, to a great extent disillusioned, utters the
name of Christ with an ardent appeal to save his
soul:
“Ah, Christ, my saviour,
Seek to save distressed Faustus’ Soul!”
 They put up the show to cheer up his mind and lure
him back to the path of hell; and they succeed
mightily when Faustus expresses his delight after
the show:
Faiza Gill
Roll No. 46.
(iv) Significance of the Character
of Mephistophilis:
If in Doctor Faustus there is any other
character other than Faustus that
deserves some consideration, it is
Mephistophilis.
He is with Faustus from the very
beginning of his proud career till his
tragic downfall.
He is also called Lucifer’s vice-regent.
He is nothing but a projection of the self
The evil is actually present in his soul and
Mephistophilis is the symbolic representation
of it.
Some critics say that ‘he symbolizes power
without conscience, the danger of which is
the motif of the play.’
And this power without conscience ultimately
brings about the downfall and eternal
damnation of Doctor Faustus.
Mephistophilis sometimes warns him against
the evils of practicing the black art of magic,
that is, the brighter aspect of Faustus’s mind,
an acute struggle between the good and the
We may also treat Mephistophilis as the
symbol of dramatic irony in the play.
Having bitter experiences of hell as a fallen
angel, Mephistophilis warns Faustus of the
evils of necromancy and the suffering in hell.
But Faustus with his pride and ambition
turns a deaf ear to all this, shuns the path of
virtue and dreams of becoming ‘as great as
Lucifer’ or to be as powerful.
And thus Mephistophilis is made the symbol
of dramatic irony that intensifies the tragic
appeal of this great drama.
Zulaikha Hameed.
Roll No. 39.
SYMBOLISM:
Symbolism in general means the
presentation of objects, moods and ideas
through the medium of symbols.
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or
colors used to represent abstract ideas or
concepts.
For instance, a lion symbolizes courage,
the moon symbolizes a lovely face and the
cross symbolizes Christianity.
So symbols are words that mean much
more than their simple literal meaning.
Following are the Symbols used in
Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’:
 The Good Angel and the Evil Angel:
The angels appear at Faustus’ shoulder
early on in the play—the good angel
urging him to repent and serve God, the
evil angel urging him to follow his lust
for power and serve Lucifer.
The two symbolize his divided will, part
of which wants to do good and part of
which is sunk in sin.
Laraib Nadeem.
Roll No. 30.
 Blood:
Blood plays multiple symbolic roles in the play.
When Faustus signs away his soul, he signs in
blood, symbolizing the permanent and
supernatural nature of this pact.
His blood solidifies on the page; however,
symbolizing his own body’s revolt against what
he intends to do.
Meanwhile, Christ’s blood, which Faustus says
he sees running across the sky during his
terrible last night, symbolizes the sacrifice that
Jesus, according to Christian belief, made on
the cross; this sacrifice opened the way for
 Faustus’ Rejection of the Ancient
Authorities:
In scene I, Faustus goes through a list of the
major fields of human knowledge—logic,
medicine, law, and theology—and cites for each
an ancient authority (Aristotle, Galen, Justinian,
and Jerome’s Bible, respectively).
He then rejects all of these figures in favor of
magic.
This rejection symbolizes Faustus’ break with
the medieval world in favor of a more modern
spirit of free inquiry, in which experimentation
and innovation trump the assertions of Greek
Conclusion:
Marlowe’s use of Allegories and
Symbols in Dr. Faustus is perfect. He
externalizes the inner desires of
Faustus that eventually lead towards
his eternal damnation.
The good and evil angels, the seven
deadly sins, Mephistophilis, etc., all are
presented brilliantly which altogether
make Dr. Faustus a great Morality play.
Thank you! 

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Use of Allegory and Symbolism in Dr. Faustus.

  • 1. Use of Allegory and Symbolism in Doctor Faustus.
  • 2. Assignment Made by Group no. 1. Group Members: Leader: Aleena Farooq – Roll no. 07. Samia Azhar – Roll no. 17. Hira Asim – Roll no. 22. Laraib Nadeem – Roll no. 30. Sadaf Jamal – Roll no. 36. Zulaikha Hameed – Roll no. 39. Faiza Gill – Roll no. 46.
  • 4. • Brief Introduction:- • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, in which Dr. Faustus sells his soul to the devil for power, experience, pleasure and knowledge. • Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least 10 years after the first performance of the play.
  • 5. What is an allegory? In Greek, ‘Allegoria’ means to imply something else. Allegory is just a form of art presenting a second meaning beneath the surface meaning.
  • 6. It is:  Form of extended metaphor.  Characters having symbolic meaning as well as literal meaning.  Personification of abstract qualities. Hence, the reader of an allegory is expected to get not only the apparent or surface meaning of
  • 7. Why do authors use allegory?  To teach moral lessons.  To explain universal truths. All Morality plays in English literature are more or less allegorical. We also get allegories in the form of prose, poetry or drama. Spenser’s ‘Fairie Queene’, Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ and Swift’s ‘Tale of a Tub’ are outstanding works in this form of art.
  • 8. Moral Allegory in Dr. Faustus: A close and critical study of Doctor Faustus enables us to go deeper and get the hidden truth or moral allegory of the play that relates “the form of Faustus’ fortunes good or bad.” It has a moral allegory of universal significance.
  • 9. The mournful monody of the Chorus makes the moral allegory of the play crystal clear: “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 practise more than heavenly power permits.”
  • 10. MORALITY IN THE PLAY: Brief description of the elements of morality in the play is: The battle over the spirit, waged by a Good Angel and a Bad Angel. The parade of the Seven Deadly Sins. The potential for salvation, which exists until Faustus finally surrenders to despair and gives up all hope of being able to repent.
  • 11. Description in detail: The introduction of the devices of the Miracle and Morality plays, such as: The Good and Bad Angels, the Devils, the Old Man, The Seven Deadly Sins etc., clearly points out the moral and allegorical
  • 13. (i) Significance of the Good and the Evil Angel (Two Angels and a Tragic Conflict): It should be noted that there is hardly any external action in the play. We find that the real action presented in the play is the spiritual conflict within the soul of the hero—a conflict between law and desire, religion and skepticism, or between curiosity and conscience.
  • 14.  The Good and Evil Angels also appear in the play with their own symbolic significance personifying the two aspects of Faustus’ character.  The former stands for order, virtue or goodness and the latter represents the baser spirit of Faustus, his indomitable passions and desires.  One stands for his conscience and the other, his curiosity for ‘unlawful things.”  It may be noted that Marlowe is quite original in the use of his angels and they
  • 16. (ii) Significance of Helen and the Old Man:  Faustus’ fascination for Helen reveals the Renaissance characteristic of love and adoration of classical art and beauty, Helen epitomizes the charms of classical art, learning and beauty.  And her shade or spirit may also be the symbol of sensual pleasures of life which are but transitory, and lead to despair and damnation.
  • 17. The Old Man represents Christian faith with its obedience to laws of God and its need for prayer and penitence that can assure eternal joy and bliss. The Old Man also represents another moral aspect; that is one who has firm faith in God can boldly face the temptations and tortures presented by the forces of Evil and ‘can ascend to heaven while the fiends sink back into hell.’
  • 19. (iii) Significance of the Show of the Seven Deadly Sins:  We have this display of Seven Deadly Sins in the second scene of Act II.  This spectacle also shows that Marlowe in his Doctor Faustus adopted some of the pacts of the old Morality plays.  So, the Seven Deadly Sins—Pride, Covetousness, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, Sloth and Lechery—of good old Morality plays are also very much here in this play in a grand spectacle to cheer up the wavering and dejected soul of Doctor Faustus.
  • 20. Symbolically, it means Faustus’ horrible surrender to these deadly sins who lead to the path of hell. In fact the sins are already there in his soul and the show of the sins simply symbolizes or externalizes them. Another point to note is that Pride leads the parade. In fact Pride deserves this, as Pride is the worst vice that brings about the downfall. And Faustus was puffed up with pride to fly too near the Sun with ‘waxen wings’ to bring about his own ultimate doom and damnation.
  • 21.  The show is not meant for any comic relief but is really meant for bringing back Faustus to the path of hell when he was much irritated by Mephistophilis for not giving right answers to some of his questions related to the creation of this universe.  And we find Lucifer, Belzebub along with Mephistophilis appearing on the stage, the moment, Faustus, to a great extent disillusioned, utters the name of Christ with an ardent appeal to save his soul: “Ah, Christ, my saviour, Seek to save distressed Faustus’ Soul!”  They put up the show to cheer up his mind and lure him back to the path of hell; and they succeed mightily when Faustus expresses his delight after the show:
  • 23. (iv) Significance of the Character of Mephistophilis: If in Doctor Faustus there is any other character other than Faustus that deserves some consideration, it is Mephistophilis. He is with Faustus from the very beginning of his proud career till his tragic downfall. He is also called Lucifer’s vice-regent. He is nothing but a projection of the self
  • 24. The evil is actually present in his soul and Mephistophilis is the symbolic representation of it. Some critics say that ‘he symbolizes power without conscience, the danger of which is the motif of the play.’ And this power without conscience ultimately brings about the downfall and eternal damnation of Doctor Faustus. Mephistophilis sometimes warns him against the evils of practicing the black art of magic, that is, the brighter aspect of Faustus’s mind, an acute struggle between the good and the
  • 25. We may also treat Mephistophilis as the symbol of dramatic irony in the play. Having bitter experiences of hell as a fallen angel, Mephistophilis warns Faustus of the evils of necromancy and the suffering in hell. But Faustus with his pride and ambition turns a deaf ear to all this, shuns the path of virtue and dreams of becoming ‘as great as Lucifer’ or to be as powerful. And thus Mephistophilis is made the symbol of dramatic irony that intensifies the tragic appeal of this great drama.
  • 27. SYMBOLISM: Symbolism in general means the presentation of objects, moods and ideas through the medium of symbols. Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. For instance, a lion symbolizes courage, the moon symbolizes a lovely face and the cross symbolizes Christianity. So symbols are words that mean much more than their simple literal meaning.
  • 28. Following are the Symbols used in Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’:  The Good Angel and the Evil Angel: The angels appear at Faustus’ shoulder early on in the play—the good angel urging him to repent and serve God, the evil angel urging him to follow his lust for power and serve Lucifer. The two symbolize his divided will, part of which wants to do good and part of which is sunk in sin.
  • 30.  Blood: Blood plays multiple symbolic roles in the play. When Faustus signs away his soul, he signs in blood, symbolizing the permanent and supernatural nature of this pact. His blood solidifies on the page; however, symbolizing his own body’s revolt against what he intends to do. Meanwhile, Christ’s blood, which Faustus says he sees running across the sky during his terrible last night, symbolizes the sacrifice that Jesus, according to Christian belief, made on the cross; this sacrifice opened the way for
  • 31.  Faustus’ Rejection of the Ancient Authorities: In scene I, Faustus goes through a list of the major fields of human knowledge—logic, medicine, law, and theology—and cites for each an ancient authority (Aristotle, Galen, Justinian, and Jerome’s Bible, respectively). He then rejects all of these figures in favor of magic. This rejection symbolizes Faustus’ break with the medieval world in favor of a more modern spirit of free inquiry, in which experimentation and innovation trump the assertions of Greek
  • 32. Conclusion: Marlowe’s use of Allegories and Symbols in Dr. Faustus is perfect. He externalizes the inner desires of Faustus that eventually lead towards his eternal damnation. The good and evil angels, the seven deadly sins, Mephistophilis, etc., all are presented brilliantly which altogether make Dr. Faustus a great Morality play.