Faustusâ€™s internal conflict is between his desire to soothe intellectual misery by answering all questions to everything (appetite, the Evil Angel), and listening to his conscience inevitably rounded by the theological beliefs of the time (reason, the Good Angel). I think the Evil Angel and Good Angel represent a splitting of Faustusâ€™s soul and conscience. What labels specific knowledge as â€œforbiddenâ€ is the threating development of the psycheâ€”can the mind sanely tolerate it? Does Faustus struggle with a kind of inescapable intellectual insanity? Faustus displays atheist qualities when he states â€œthe godâ€ he â€œservest is thine own appetiteâ€ (5.0, 11). The hunger of the tortured intellectual is what Faustus desperately seeks to soothe. He has no definite theological longing; the rituals he undertakes are suitable concepts to frame his cravings:
Wherein is fixed the love of Belzebub.
To him Iâ€™ll build an altar and a church,
And offer lukewarm blood of newborn babes (5.0,12-15)
Satan is a means to an end, not an end itself. God represents restrictive concepts following reason, while Satan seems unconstrained. Faustus follows the concept that will fulfill his personal endâ€”enlightenment and complete knowledge of the world. This is revealed through his eager interest in â€œwho made the worldâ€ (5.0, 240), the â€œcharacters and planets of the heavensâ€ (5.0, 167-68), and â€œall plants, herbs, and trees that grow upon the earthâ€ (5.0, 172-73). Once he has obtained all knowledge, he will be an omnipotent being no longer tortured by questions of bodily existence. Although Faustus seems to indoctrinate the ethics of Satan, he continually mocks and questions the essence of hell:
Come, I think hellâ€™s a fable.
Thinkâ€™st thou that Faustus is so fond to imagine
That after this life there is any pain?
Tush, these are trifles and mere old wivesâ€™ tales.
How, now in hell? Nay, and this be hell, Iâ€™ll willingly be
damned here! (5.0, 126-137)
Faustus does not hesitate selling his soul to Satan (pg. 1140) because he longs to be freed from the limitations of reason/being and conscience. He does not have a grounded fear of the divine, and he desires the immunity of no conscience. Unfortunately, he cannot escape the fact that theological values are ingrained deeply in 16th Century society and psyche. This explains why Faustus is constantly conflictedâ€”it is the underlying psyche rooted within, completely beyond his control:
Why waverest thou? O, something soundeth in mine ears:
â€œAbjure this magic, turn to God againâ€
Ay, and Faustus will turn to God again.
To God? He loves thee not. (5.0, 7-10)
What haunts Faustus are beliefs he â€œtechnicallyâ€ does not hold, and this intrinsic turmoil is displayed in the continuous denial and acceptance that he is damned:
Scare can I name salvation, faith, or heaven,
But fearful echoes thunders in mine ears,
â€œFaustus thou are damnedâ€ (5.0, 194-197)
Faustus ultimately does not accept the theological aspects of the divine until the very end, when he cries to burn his books (13.0, 113). Do certain endeavours of the human mind separate one from the soul? Is intellectual insanity caused by a physical limitation of the mind? How do you approach knowledge without conflict from the conscience?
Marlowe, Christoper. â€œThe Tragical History of Dr. Faustusâ€. Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2012. Print.