• Christopher Marlowe (26 February 1564– 30 May
1593) was an Englishplaywright, poet and translator of
theElizabethanera. Marlowe was the foremost
Elizabethantragedianof his day. Hegreatly influenced
WilliamShakespeare,who was born in thesame year as
Marlowe and who rose to become the pre-eminent
Elizabethanplaywright afterMarlowe'smysterious early
death. Marlowe's plays are known for theuse of blank
verseand their overreachingprotagonists.
• The TragicalHistory ofthe Life and Deathof Doctor
Faustus, commonly referredto simply as Doctor Faustus,
is a play by ChristopherMarlowe, based on the German
story Faust, in whicha man sellshis soul to the devilfor
power, experience,pleasureand knowledge.Doctor
Faustus was first published in1604, elevenyears after
Marlowe's deathand at least10 years afterthe first
performance of the play. It is the most controversial
Elizabethanplay outsideof Shakespeare.
Seven Deadly Sins
• TheSeven DeadlySins,whenmentioned,conjureupancient
talesof darkdeeds anddarkcharacters,like Faustusand
Mephistophilis.Dr. Faustus supposedlysold his soul tothe
devil, theevil Mephistophilisand,in so doing,made himself
prey toall types of corruptionanddegradation.Inhis descent
intowickedness,theruined Faustuscommittedall of these
deadlysins: pride,envy, gluttony,lechery, wrath,covetousness,
andsloth.These sinswere considereddeadlybecausetheyled
Faustus,or anyman orwomanwhowouldcommitthemontoa
pathfrom whichtherewas no return.
• The first deadly sin is pride. Pride, the mother of all sins:
believing too much in our own abilities interferes with us
recognizing the grace of God. It is identified as excessive
self-esteem,especially when the proud person does not
accept his/her proper position in the Great Chain of Being.
Lucifer was thrown from Heaven because he would not
accept the Son of God being placed at God’s right hand,
which he believed to be his own rightful place. Those guilty
of pride were destined to be broken on the wheel in Hell.
• In almost every list,pride isconsideredthe originaland
most serious of the sevendeadly sins, and the source of
theothers. Dr. Faustus saw himself as in comparison to
others in a competitivenature; he sitsthere and tells the
audienceof his accomplishments andwishes for more
glory. Faustuscasts asidethe doctrinesavailableto him,
scorning them for beingtoo easyor simplisticfor him. He
therefore is unsatisfiedwith beingmortal, i.e., subjectto
thelaws of nature andGod. He believesGod will not give
him the answers he deserveswhile heis on earth, soturns
to Lucifer instead.
• The second iscovetousness. Covetousnessor greed is, like
lustand gluttony, a sin of excess.However, it is appliedto a
very excessiveor rapaciousdesire andpursuitof material
possessions.ThomasAquinas wrote, "Greed is a sinagainst
God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns
thingseternal for the sake of temporalthings."
• In Dante's Purgatory, the patientswere boundand laidface
down on the ground for having concentratedtoo much on
• Hoardingof materialsor objects,theftand robbery,
especiallyby means of violence,trickery, or
manipulationof authority are allactions that may be
• Suchmisdeeds can includesimony, where one attempts
to purchase or sellsacraments,includingHolyOrders
and, therefore,positions of authority inthe Church
hierarchy. As definedoutsideof Christianwritings,greed
is an inordinatedesireto acquire or possess more than
one need,especiallywith respect tomaterialwealth.
• Faustus demonstrates this in various scenes, when he
evokes the devils magic, the want of a wife, andthe
overall actions of his character portray his pursuit of
knowledgeand glory.Usually this sin is manifested
through sex, power, orimage which demises the self-
controland can suffocate the soul. Itis the self-
destructive drive for pleasure which is out ofcontrol.
Faustus performs his sillytricks for self-indulgence.
• Wrath is the third sin. Wrath, also known as rage, may be
describedas inordinateand uncontrolled feelingsof
hatred and anger. Wrath, in its purest form, presents with
self-destructiveness,violence,and hate that may provoke
feudsthat can go on for centuries. Wrathmay persistlong
after theperson who didanother a grievouswrong is
dead.Feelingsof angercanmanifest in differentways,
behaviour,such as drug abuse or suicide.
• Wrath is the onlysin not necessarily associated with
selfishness or self-interest, although onecan ofcourse
be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy.Dante
described vengeance as "love of justice perverted to
revenge and spite".
• In itsoriginalform, the sin of wrath also encompassed
anger pointedinternallyas wellas externally.Thus
suicide was deemedas the ultimate, albeit tragic,
expressionof hatred directed inwardly, a finalrejection
• Faustus demonstrates his impatience with the
way hetreats the peoplearoundhim,his
servants as well as other characters. Wrath is
what Faustus feels when he conjures uphorns to
place onthe headof a knightof Emperor Charles
V, court. Sincethe knightshows scepticism in
Faustus’ powers, Faustus must rebukehis
insolenceby placing hornson the knight’s head.
• The fourth is envy. Envy is characterisedby spiteand
resentment at seeingthe success of another. Those who
commit the sin of envy resent the fact that another
person has something they see themselvesas lacking,
and may even gloat if another person losesthat
something. Those guilty of envy were destined to be put
into freezing water. Like greedand lust, Envy is
characterized by an insatiabledesire.
• Envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent
towards someone's traits, status, abilities, or rewards. The
difference is the envious also desire the entity and covet it.
• Faustus envies the Emperor, the Pope, Lucifer and even God for
having power and status beyond him. He summons
Mephistopheles so that he can use him to have a power he hopes
will exceed the power of them all. Dr. Faustus wanted more in his
life and envied the powers of others. Therefore he wanted to
command the demons to control the world to his accord. Dr.
Faustus was envious of the accomplishment of others and
wanted to exceed their glory.
• The fifth sin is gluttony;temperance in accepting
the natural limits of pleasures,and preserves of
the natural balance. This doesnot pertain onlyto
food,but to entertainment andother legitimate
goods,and even the companyof others. Gluttony
is the overindulgenceand overconsumptionof
anythingto the pointof waste.
• In Christianity,it isconsidered a sin if the excessive
desire for foodcauses it tobe withheldfrom the needy.
Because of these scripts,gluttony can be interpreted as
selfishness;essentiallyplacingconcern withone's own
interestsabove the well-being or interestsof others.
Medieval church leaderstook a more expansive view
of gluttony, arguing thatit couldalsoincludean
obsessiveanticipationof meals, andthe constant
eating of delicacies andexcessivelycostlyfoods.
• At the end of his twenty-fourth year, with death close,
Faustusis ‘swillingandrevealing with hisstudents’in a
feast with ‘foodand wine enough for an army’. Faustus
demonstratesgluttony when he evokes the use of the
dark arts. He is attemptingto go beyond his earthly
knowledge whiledisturbingthe naturalbalance of Gods
lawsand expectations.Faustuswants to elevate himself
as an equalto God. In Faustus’s eyes God is no longer the
balanceor medium in his life, the devil hasbecome the
greater power to Faustus.Faustusstartsusing the devils
name in place of where one woulduse Gods name.
• Slothis the sixth one.Sloth can entail differentvices.
Whilesloth is sometimes definedas physical
laziness, spiritual laziness is emphasized.Failing to
developspiritually willlead to becomingguiltyof
sloth. In the Christian faith, sloth rejectsgrace and
God.Sloth has also been definedas a failure to do
things that oneshoulddo.By this definition,evil
exists when goodmenfail to act.
• Sloth,in conjunction withthe other sins, works to muffle
thespiritualsensesso we first become slow to respond to
Godand then driftcompletelyinto theslumber of
complacency to thedemonic ways. This is thesixth sin in
thedeath of Faustus.Faustus has become numb to his
own sub consciousness; he nolongerabidesby what he
does. Evenin the scenewhere he signs thecontract with
thedevil,his bloodcongealsand hedoes not understand
why. His own body is fightingthedeadly deedhe was
• The slothful person,likeFaustus, is unwilling
to do whatGod wants becauseof the effortit
takes todo it.Hesummons Mephistopheles
and signs the contractwith Luciferso hecan
experienceson-tap without any effort on his
• Lechery, greed is the seventh sin. Lust or lechery is an
intense and uncontrolleddesire. It is usually thought
of as uncontrolledsexual wants, however the word
was originallya general term for desire. Therefore lust
couldincludethe uncontrolleddesire formoney,
food,fame, orpower. Those guiltyof lechery were
destined to be smothered infireand brimstone
• Lechery is the only one in the pageant who
is obviously female. In Elizabethan times it
was thought that the Devil targeted men
through women who, like Eve, were ruled
by their appetites rather than reason, given
to delusional imaginings and far too feeble
to resist temptation.
• He instructs Mephistophilisinstead to summon
Helen of Troy for his lover .Faustus also displays lust
in act one when he states he has not accomplished
greatness. Faustus wants to gain glory; he has
expectations of others to get himhis glory. Faustus
uses Mephistophelesto gain glory and he does not
acknowledgethat the demonis responsiblefor all
the tasks he performs, but states it is his gift ofthe
• Thesesevensins arethe reflectionof Dr.
• He isa self-centredperson whoonly thinks
of himself andcan doeach andeverything
to fulfil his desires.
• He is aperson imprisonedin his owndesires
and heput isego aboveall.