oneil406: November 2012 Archives

Assignment 4: Sculpt!

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1. We'll organize the presenting of our presentation in a way that highlights what we have each researched, so each person will pick a scene from Faustus and argue a different aspect of our thesis based on our individual research. We will come together on our introduction and conclusion, dividing that up between us, but for the most part in our presentation everyone will be responsible for their own individual research.
2. Our main idea that we would like to convey to the class is that Doctor Faustus subverts the conventional and accepted theology of the time that Marlowe wrote it. We are using the play Faustus as a lens to look at Elizabethan society and Marlowe himself.
3. Our format is good, we just need to reorganize it based on a new topic. Now we will be using a lecture format and taking the play scene by scene (as in a few specific scenes that we have researched) to examine our thesis.

Our group will be looking at how Doctor Faustus is a representative work of Marlowe's turning away from his religious background, upbringing, and education. And so, Doctor Faustus subverts the conventional and accepted Christian theology of Elizabethan England. Doctor Faustus was a controversial and daring play in that it not only discussed God and religion, but it challenged his society's understanding of God and then everything that comes with that, including the Church, the Law, and the Monarchy. Doctor Faustus is an affront to the power structure of 16th Century England that is both the most present in everyday life and least welcoming to challenge or doubt; that is the relationship between the God of Elizabethan England and the man of Elizabethan England.

Rutter, Tom. Cambridge Introduction to Christopher Marlowe.
West Nyack, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
ebrary collections. 15 Nov. 2012

This source tells a great deal about Marlowe's life. Although little is actually known about his life because there isn't much documented and there are many holes in his history (like Aphra Behn...), the article gave a great deal of helpful information. One of the things my group is focusing on his Marlowe's alleged atheism and how this could have contributed to his writing and themes in Faustus. What is interesting about this is Marlowe had a pretty heavily emphasized religious upbringing. He attended a school that focused on the teachings of the Church of England and was granted a scholarship to Corpus Christi College with the expectation that he would graduate and become a priest, "He was the recipient of a scholarship...the assumptions being that the student would become a priest if he proved suitable." The article also speculates that when Marlowe would leave the college's campus for extended periods to go to Rheims in Northern France. This is controversial because, "the reason any young man in the 1580s would go to Rheims would be to attend the English Catholic seminary there which trained up young men for the priesthood, preparing them to return to England in secret with the ultimate aim of converting the country back to Catholicism." At this point in his life, one would assume that Marlowe was driven by religion. However, in 1593, Marlowe delivered a note entitled "The opinion of one Christopher (Marlowe) concerning his damnable judgment of religion, and scorn of God's word". In a little over 10 years, what had changed so significantly in Marlowe's life to lead him from what we can assume to be a life driven by religion to a life driven against religion? The delivery of this manuscript is also speculated to be one of the factors that attributed to Marlowe's supposed murder. The article leads the reader to believe that the death of Marlowe occurred three days later under suspicious circumstances. The article as a whole throws a lot of information at the reader, but mostly it opens up more questions about Marlowe than it answers.

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