Before we begin to crack open Faustus with venerate instruments tipped with the blood of morality, we need to make our peace with what the definition of 'morality', as a word, as an expression, as a universal truth is. Then, we need to cartwheel toward what the mechanisms of the discrepant channels of 'morality' could be. So, let us pick up that scalpel, polish it out until it blinks blindly, and begin to dissever with an unmatched callousness and a precision conversant only to unfailing flagrant egos.
Notions of Morality and Morality Plays
Morality is without definition, it is based more on structure but that's so vastly variant that it can not be called structure, but instead we can ideally define it as a highly malleable sort of conviction within oneself, 'subjectivity' is perhaps the word I am chasing To mine out. Morality is subjective. And this subjectivity again does not belong to one man or a set or a fact or a universe of them; This sort of subjectivity is impressive and it is dependable entirely on the solidity of its conception. Weak minded men bear a marginal sense of morality; Resolute men carry morality as their firmest assets. So, morality is subjective and subjectivity is the height of resolution, but, take note, both morality and subjectivity are parallels, even if they share the same source of origin and search the same habits for cultivation.
The intent of anything that surprises the knowledge of the prevalence of morality in men is or has to be handled by the same and set form of subjectivity. Something of this nature is what a Morality play is all about. Morality plays were not critical, seditious or subversive, but still, in a dearth of these attributes they were, most consequentially, didactic. That is, that they wave direction and motive to having an inbreed impulsiveness of morality, that could not be employed by perception or deceived in perspective, ie, that could not be impressed upon subjectivity, and necessitated succoring it with the goal of its Preservation. In matters of morality, all or any subjectivity is at a loss and without foundation. And sometimes, men commit the very endemic error of misconstruing morality, instead of subjectivity, as the basis of action. This is perhaps the reason why the very first form of plays, or theater at its infancy, discussed an issue that although presented levity but enforced the fickle formula of man's favorite fallacy – his morality.
Morality Plays, as is rampant in popular knowledge, resuscitated the oldest hypothesis of Good and Evil, to what man must owe his predilections and what aims he must defend, what he must uphold and what he must scorn. They were didactic in teaching something exclusive, but conveying the rigidity and grandiose, august austerity of something as non-exclusive as one's own moral preference. They magnified what men must commit themselves to, what men have committed themselves to and what these commitments must aspire to at most and what they must at least encompass; That conduct when bad made for untoward endings and when good, was a sanctioning passport to the pearly gates; That the Bible was as chaste and correcteous in its each syllable as the breath of God in Bethlehem; And they helped the oldest notions foster, sometimes the means varied and often the content, but rarely did the intent waver. If you must ask why, recall that this was for the likes and sakes of a headline spectrum of subjectivity that belonged not to the composite nature of one man but the dull individuation of multitudes, and commit multitudes to their common fallacy, and they'll Delightfully lap it up, for what wrong can men find in a place wherefrom they derive the promises of what's right.
What authors like Marlowe himself, did was to make such stalwartly puissant and fanatical subjects as endurable and cause to rejoice, they either corrected their protagonists beyond all reprieve and expiation, or cast them so unsullied, so unblemished by the execrable that all and any of Their attributes were extremities and what more, they coded it impeccably (quite judiciously too) with the marveling combo of epithet and noun – the Common Man. That, it is to be reckoned, is what bolstered the edifying, didactic element in these plays. As an old song goes, 'a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down', the masses swallowed up the interfering nature of the play disguised as insouciant, when writers like Marlowe used sartorial writing styles to dress these insinuations up, and tone the commandment -like mandate allusions to moral-preening down, and bedeck them in raiment, idyllic, literary and most crucially … passable.
'Doctor Faustus' – Christopher Marlowe gets down with the boogie
Ghosts in attics do not exist in cardinal corporeal form. Neither does morality. However, we bear a feeling for them, like we bear a feeling for the anticipation of finding a newspaper on the porch, receiving a call in the afternoon, and getting laid in a brothel. Morality is ghost-like, we bear only a present towards it; It is not something tactile, tangible and talking from personal experience, infallible and in that case, not in the least bit reliable. (Ha, ha, would not that be convenient? Imagine, a guiltyless rapist, a superhuman politician and a saintly strumpet!)
Christopher Marlowe divorces out his own share of the large palette of morality, and takes up the murkiest nuance and wets the tip of the sable-hair brush sharpened with fatigue, dips in an ion's worth of resolution and poses in a majestic stance for a coup De grace. 'Doctor Faustus' is a Morality play by the same standards and grounds that any Morality play is a Morality play – it confirms morality as a necessity, almost an ideal, and the course of the consequences when its not.
Can you not just imagine Marlowe all dressed up with that very pliable Malacca cane breathing down the nape of you neck and sighing hoarsely, intoning syllables like a foreigner intent on butchering dialect, 'Moral is Good. Amoral is Bad. Everything else is secondary. '?
It was the attitude of an age, and writers are nothing but mediums of attitudes, and if not that, then they're assumed rebels; Marlowe was not a rebel. 'Doctor Faustus' parades most perceptibly even to the most unprofessional eye that it lugs all the paraphernalia of a Morality Play. It is like a transcendent cricket match: Good versus Evil, nine wickets down, Faustus on batting, last over, and the last sextet of balls, and the bloke's pretty much cutting the cropper on each one. You've got Satan leading the host team and Mr. Almighty heading the adversaries, got Good Angel and Bad Angel in the line up, Mephistopheles to boot and a right wing non-diplomatic, uncompromising demeanor to hack the hole in the floor. Faustus caves in for itching temptations that need the balm of self-indulgent gluttony, and now he must face the repercussions of his blighted, insubordinate-to-moral-values outcast nature. At the end of it, for his deeds and for yielding, he raises up the wrath of a nice boot up his privates, metaphor intended.
What's all Morality-play-ish about it? It is goddam exacting. It intimates that a pregnant cessation on one's voracity is imperative, that overkill breeds evil and dissatisfaction imports it, that only stern principles of morality can engineer and engender true satiation and no pleasure can aim to compare the one of rigidity in uprightness, that no Man must readily or otherwise acquiesce to the demands that men often make of themselves, the one of surpassing and over-reaching. Too bad, that Marlowe and his chums never saw a Bollywood flick, I can wager my wits that they would've loved the picture perfect ending, bad pun also intended.