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MAGICIAN OR WITCH?: CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE'S DOCTOR FAUSTUS

by Matthews, Michelle M

Abstract (Summary)
This project looks closely at Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and its relationship to the witchcraft and magic debates in the Renaissance. During this time, witches were considered a manifestation of diabolical evil, which caused massive witch hunts. This same period saw a Neoplatonic revival among humanists who believed that by dedicating their lives to contemplation and God, they could access benevolent magic allowing them to improve the world. Doctor Faustus is unique because it presents the dreams of the Neoplatonists at the same time as it portrays the behaviors associated with witches. By comparing the text with orthodox treatises, popular beliefs, and Neoplatonic writings, I argue that Faustus turns his back on God. Ultimately, this paper concludes that because he participates in the events of a witches’ sabbat, he fails to achieve the magic of occult philosophers, and he performs maleficium, Doctor Faustus is a witch not a magician.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:christopher marlowe doctor faustus magic witchcraft

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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