Essay on The Knowledge of Good and Evil

1135 Words 5 Pages
The Knowledge of Good and Evil The quest for knowledge and learning has been occuring since the creation of mankind. Ever since the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, promising she would wise as the gods, man has been battling with this endless pursuit. Some men want wisdom so that they may be able to live a good and righteous life. Other men want only the power that knowledge can bring them, to use it for their own sinful purposes.

Literature tells the history of two very different men who had this desire for wisdom; King Solomon in the Old Testament, remembered for his wisdom and uprightness; and the legendary Doctor Faustus, known for his sinful
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Marlowe based his tale on that of a magician name Doctor John Faustus who was well known in his day for his wickedness, blasphemy, and for sodomizing young boys. Protestant leaders used the story of Faustus, his heinous sins, and the horrible death he suffered as an example to unbelievers during the Reformation.

Marlowe took the character and wrote a play about him, capitalizing on the rumors and stories of his wickedness. In this version, Doctor Faustus is a man of learning who decided to cast away his studies and turn to black magic. He felt that he had come to the end of what he could learn under his own human power, and wanted to move into the supernatural world.

Faustus wanted not only answers to all of the questions he had been researching over the years, he wanted the power that knowledge can give. The power that Faustus gained corrupted him, and rather than a seeker of knowledge, he became a seeker of pleasure. As Faustus pondered the idea of turning to black magic, a good angel and an evil angel joined the debate. The good angel pleaded with Faustus to turn away from the occult, while the evil angel tempted Faustus, just as the serpent did Eve. He told Faustus to “Be thou on Earth as Jove is in the sky, Lord and commander of these elements” (lines 76-77). In a later scene, the evil angel told Faustus to think of honor and wealth, rather than of heaven, as the

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