The Picture Of Hell In Marlowe's Dr Faustus

in Hell

What is Hell? What is the address of Hell? Who stays there? Can anybody be able to provide any suitable answers to all these questions? But they will give a big NO to the above asked questions. Really we do not know what Hell is; its exact location and its whereabouts. At this point of discussion I can recollect the golden lines written by Milton in Paradise Lost;

"The mind is to its own place, and in itself, Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven". Paradise Lost

Actually human heart and mind is the only place for both Heaven and Hell. Even Milton has also nicely clarifies the theme in Paradise Lost. But we like to imagine about the conventional Hell as mentioned in many mythologies and we like to relate the mythical characters along with the events. We often love to imagine that Hell is full of darkness. The rays of the sun cannot able to penetrate the deep darkness of the Hell. Hell is somewhat located in the underground of the earth. At the core of the Hell there is boiler which is burning round the clock. The soul of the sinners is going through constant torture. They are receiving chastisement for their offense. This is the major picture oh hell that we get in the books. But this picture is purely imaginative. It is the pure creative process of the writers. Practicality Hell is created within the mind of every man. And man suffers emotionally for his offense. This is the place where he receives the ultimate punishment. He fears for his near future and off course for the impending results.

In Dr. Faustus, Marlowe deals with the concept of hell. But Marlowe reflects the spiritual aspect of Hell through the central character Dr. Faustus. In the drama Dr. Faustus we get the introduction of hell in Act 1. Dr. Faustus wants to attain the supreme power. To fulfill his wishes, Mephistophilis appears before for performing and carry out the duties of Faustus.

Mephistophilis though a follower of Lucifer, the Prince of Hell, but repents his golden days in Heaven and also of God. But now he lives in Hell and walks down to the memory lane that leads to Heaven. Faustus asks how he comes out of the Hell. And in reply of this he says that he is not out of the hell but carries Hell wherever he goes. And suddenly he recollects the face of God that he used to see in his past days.
He cannot enjoy his days in The Hell. He feels a constant pull between the Heaven and Hell; Good and Evil. He cannot get out of this terrible place. As he carries the Hell within his heart and mind. On the other hand Dr Faustus wants to attain the supreme power of this world. And for that he surrenders his soul to Lucifer. He signs an agreement with the blood from his own body. Faustus again and again wants to know and gather information about Hell and its exact location.

Mephistophilis says that Hell has no limit. It is the place where the sinners have to undergo through different chastisements and agonies. And all sinners carry the hell within their bosom. Where are the sinners there is only the Hell. Even Milton echoes the same expression in Paradise Lost; "Myself am Hell "replies Satan.

Faustus has also commits sins and he suffers for this too. Faustus wants to become God. He rejects and neglects God and Christianity in exchange of worldly powers and sensual pleasures. This is the gravest sin he has done. He suffers for his sky-rising ambitions and pride. He wants to gain a deity and thus he surrenders his soul to Lucifer or the devil.

Faustus can come out of from this suffering only by praying to God. And if he does not wish to gain mercy, he will sink more and more towards the darkness. Mephistophilis warns him again and again for his pride, ambition and high spirits. But Faustus refuses to pay any attention to his warnings.

In the concluding part of the drama Faustus realizes his fault and his eternal damnation. Dr Faustus realizes the deep agony and his soul is full of dreadfulness. His last soliloquy reflects the image of both the conventional Hell and spiritual Hell. At last he feels the terror and tortures of his mind and he carries the thousand hells within his mind. Therefore Mephistophilis says wisely that Hell is located within the mind and heart and soul of human being. Faustus asks for mercy to his soul.

He says:

"Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years
A hundred thousand, and last be saved"

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Pushpita Ghosh has 1 articles online

Pushpita Ghosh

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The Picture Of Hell In Marlowe's Dr Faustus

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This article was published on 2010/04/02