Marlowe pp 43-44 | Cite as

Una Ellis-Fermor

  • Johan Jump
Part of the Casebook Series book series (CASEBS)


Marlowe, whose tragedy appears at its height and in characteristic form in Faustus, takes up a unique position as a tragic thinker, because of the implacable paradox on which his reading of the universe rests; man’s innate fallibility on the one hand, and, on the other, the infallibility demanded by inflexible law. To this paradox there is only one conclusion: ‘Why then belike we must sin and so consequendy die.’ The precision and finality of this deduction indicate a vision terrifying alike in its assumptions and in its omissions. For implicit in Marlowe’s premiss is the predestination of man to destruction by some determinate power capable of purpose and intention, and, as such purpose can only be sadistic, the world order it implies must derive from a Satanism more nearly absolute than that of Euripides.

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© The Editor(s) 1969

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  • Johan Jump

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