Role of women in Dr Faustus

Helen of Troy, contextually was seen as a strong character, but in Faustus, Marlowe degrades her as character, by portraying her as an object of desire. Lust/desire alone is a sin, but we can see that Faustus really pushes away redemption when he says to Helen “make me immortal with a kiss” so in a way he is exchanging God for Helen on the basis of lust, and is therefore damned because she was raised by devils.

Essay plan

- female characters have minor roles in Dr F = does this suggest that the role of women and impact of women on the plot is insignificant, or is it due the renaissance time, where women weren’t allowed on stage

three roles of women:
- object of desire = Helen of Troy – lust = degrades her as a character, ironic, contextually she is a stronger fighting character, but in ‘Dr Faustus’ she is seen as an object of desire, also Faustus swaps God for Helen of Troy “make me immortal with a kiss”

- mother = Women as a mother = pregnant duchess, she doesn’t play a significant part, so suggests women are seen as second class citizens. Does show good in Faustus as he aides her (gets her grapes)

- a wife = Makes a mockery of marriage = wants a wife but conjures up a whore