There may be different or varying ways of looking at certaincharacters and revealing them as a certain type of character. InChristopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus, the main character,Doctor Faustus, could be described and revealed as a tragic hero,similarly to other tragic characters, such as Sophocles’ Oedipusand Shakespeare’s Hamlet may also be described as such. Thereare different features and characteristics, which would makethese characters be considered as tragic heroes rather thananother type of character.One of the features that characterize a tragic hero is that thistype of character “will mistakenly bring his own downfall”,(McManus) which is referred to as “hamartia”. In Marlowe’s play,the main character, Faustus, brings his own downfall by the endof the story. In his opening speech, in Act 1 Scene 1, Faustus tellsand explains the audience and the readers that he has skilledhimself in law, medicine and divinity, but he wants to know morethan what he knows and also know more about other things. Thisaspect of Faustus, his curiosity to learn and know more, may bethought of as part of the human condition and human nature andisn’t something that is seen as wrong in our society.However, this aspect also blinds Faustus from a sense of reasonand right from wrong. This eventually leads the main character of Doctor Faustus to make an agreement with the devil, whichresults in Faustus’ downfall. This aspect of Faustus’ character andpersonality is similar to Oedipus, in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.Oedipus’ pride blinds him from seeing truth, reason, as well asthe difference from right and wrong, which leads to and results inthe character’s downfall and to the main character of Sophocles’play, Oedipus, stabbing his eyes out. This feature will lead to the characteristic and fact that, by doingthese mistakes or “flaws”, the tragic heroes are doomed from thebeginning and the audience and readers know the fate of thesecharacters is sealed. And for the tragic hero be just that, a tragichero or tragic character, this type of character has to be doomedfrom the beginning of the play, but doesn’t hold anyresponsibility for possessing his flaw or fault. This may be seen inFaustus. From the beginning of the play, from the time that hetells the audience and readers that he wants to acquire more
Rao Rizwan Sadiq. M.A English (2009-11) Islamia University of Bahawalpur.