Devils, the Divine, and Despair in <i>Doctor Faustus</i>


  • Melissa Pullara Independant



Many scholars have noted that in Marlowe’s play, Faustus’s damnation is justified by his religious despair which prevents him from seeking repentance from God. But it is my contention that Faustus experiences both a religious and an intellectual despair, and it is the latter of the two which makes his ending truly tragic. Because of his inability to reconcile spiritual mysteries with earthly knowledge, Faustus loses faith in his own penchant for mastery; thus, in the end he laments not his turn towards the demonic, but his decision to ever extend his curiosity beyond the earthly world in the first place.  

Author Biography

Melissa Pullara, Independant

Melissa Pullara [] is an independent scholar who received her doctorate in English Literature in November 2019 from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. Her primary area of research is early modern English literature and history, with a specialization in drama. She has a chapter forthcoming in a series on medieval and renaissance witchcraft, put out by Trivent Publishing, as well as other pieces in the Sixteenth-Century Journal. She currently pursues academia part time while working in online studies administration and course development at Seneca College.