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Academic Expert Essay

1479 words - 6 pages

Knowledge and Evil
Knowledge offers the individual who attains it the capacity to differentiate between evil and good or wrong and right. Therefore, must we disregard the likelihood that it may not in fact be knowledge, but rather the decisions we settle for subsequent to its attainment that brings about demise of individuals? The paper will try to examine the viewpoints of two writers, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, concerning the subject of knowledge probably being a downfall as they have inferred in their own plays, Doctor Faustus and Hamlet ...view middle of the document...

I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg" (Shakespeare, 1998, 1.1.112-119).
Doctor Faustus commences with a preamble in which the chorus line commends Faustus' academic accomplishments:
"At riper years to Wittenberg he went,
Whereas his kinsmen chiefly brought him up.
So much he profits in divinity,
The fruitful plot of scholarism grac'd

That shortly he was grac'd with doctor's name,
Excelling all, and sweetly can dispute
In th' heavenly matters of theology…" (Marlowe, 2001, Prologue 13-19).
Assuming Hamlet had returned to Wittenberg, could he have come across with his father's spirit? As for Faustus, it is obvious that he was originally fascinated by religious knowledge, which brought him no destruction until "…glutted now with learning's golden gifts, he surfeits upon cursed necromancy…" (Marlowe, 2001, Prologue 24-25).
Within this logic, both plays appear to be centring on knowledge as evil or good other than deeming knowledge as entirely evil. Marlowe and Shakespeare appear to have mutually established the fashion in contemporary, existential assessment rather than being motivated by the biblical analysis of knowledge as the prohibited fruit, which is and was widespread. Both plays may be scrutinized as backing the idea that knowledge by itself does not direct to demise, however, it is for individuals to differentiate between constructive and harmful information.
Conversely, can we actually distinguish between constructive and harmful knowledge? What emerges as more significant is how we utilize it or how we construe it. A few lines below the lines quoted above from the prologue of Doctor Faustus we read:
"…heavens conspir'd his overthrow" (Marlowe, 2001, Prologue 22).This appears to designate yet an additional thought: that there is no boundary to the acquisition of knowledge. Via the introduction the spectators of the play are accustomed to the thought that Faustus has been attaining knowledge with the approval of the heavens, until the heavens settle on that he has obtained sufficient of it, and that subsequent to this he will competent to equate himself to God. Consequently, his demise seems premeditated. If we consider the topic of knowledge from a theological viewpoint, it appears that the heavens do not deny individuals with knowledge absolutely, but instead establish a boundary to it. Eve and Adam did not appear to be completely uninformed before ingesting the prohibited fruit. Therefore, as Faustus becomes conceited of his broad knowledge, his demise is determined upon by the heavens nearly as if he now symbolizes a menace:
"Till, swollen with cunning of a self-conceit,
His waxen wings did mount above his reach,
And, melting, heavens conspir'd his overthrow…" (Marlowe, 2001, Prologue 20-22).
As of a moralistic approach, Faustus' attitude can be compared to that of contemporary day scientists who set no boundaries to their experimentations and attempt to be God. Conversely, this last similarity does...

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