The Role of Knowledge Examined Through Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Eliot’s The Waste Land

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Authors
Olsen, Megan
Advisor
Greiner, Katherine
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Date of Issue
2024
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Title
The Role of Knowledge Examined Through Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Eliot’s The Waste Land
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Presentation
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Abstract
This presentation reflects an investigation into the roles and limitations of human knowledge as evidenced by Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Through Doctor Faustus’ questioning of the limits of knowledge and discernment of whether to endeavor into understanding beyond what is seen as acceptable by societal norms, the tragedy highlights the struggle to balance the conflicting pursuits between devotion to divinity and an inherent curiosity for proliferation of knowledge. Though both texts explore the role of knowledge, they are different in context. While Doctor Faustus is faced with barriers which challenge the role of knowledge in his personal experience, T.S. Eliot presents a fragmented and complex poem which leads one to wonder about the purpose of knowledge in the context of a broken and incoherent world. This contrast provides opportunity for analysis and ultimate conclusion on the roles of knowledge in the human experience across varied conditions. Whether limited by societal expectations or considered from the perspective of a broken and devastated society, the role of knowledge can be theorized through analysis of Marlow’s and Eliot’s works.
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Honors Scholars Program