The Charade of a Parade

Reason as disorder, and religion as order?

Christopher Marlow touches on the contradiction between reasoning and religiosity, criticizing how the first-mentioned elevates human dignity over divine authority.

“The god thou serve’s is thine own appetite, wherein is fix’d the love of Beelzebub: to him I’ll build an altar and a church” explicitly expresses the experience of reconversion, implicitly implying the Catholic communion.

Faustus’ lack of faith on the Greatest Possible Being, a theology that puts together Classical and Christian philosophy, thus loads a faith on the devil, supposedly and ironically the treacherous possible being, to provide and protect. This is a ‘love’ towards Beelzebub, an advocate of selfish love instead of selfless love.

It is well-known that the Greco-Roman proverb of the human purpose is “to seek happiness, through wealth, health, fame, and praise.” It is a fulfillment. And in Christian thought, ‘7’ in Hebrew means “to be full,” a number of completion and perfection, represented in the days of creation, the images in revelation, or the number of heavens.

The Seven Deadly Sins—Superbia, Avaricia, Invidia, Ire, Gula, Acedia, and Luxuria—are abstractions personified, the representations of the heart in a morality play. They are presented as distractions from religious thinking as from rational thinking, as a parade. It is significant that the sins introduced themselves from the most to the least deadly.

Vainglory is at the top of hierarchy, led by musical (folklore piper) and visual (grotesque attires) appreciation and enjoyment, which demonstrates sins as delight instead of despair. This enhances the illusion that hell is heaven on earth, to become an admirer of the despiser. It is a mystery too, to live a life of pleasure without immorality.

Faustus wants to “gain a deity” as a “conjurer laureate,” as the Deadly Sins despise reason that leads to religion, drunk enough to distort the mind and heart from focusing on God. Since, the parade is more comedic than demonic—more humorous than systematic. Gluttony invites Faustus for dinner, whilst Covetousness desires Faustus into gold. Sloth was too lazy to introduce himself, and Lechery too fond of an “inch of raw meat.” Notice that the Deadly Sins explicitly states what they are craving for, in a light-hearted instead of a fear-driven or tough-minded manner. Lucifer’s objective is to transform Faustus in such a way that he would ignore the consequences of his yearnings than its contentment.

Faustus’ mind is hungry for something beyond reason, and his heart thirsty for something beyond religion, led by Pride who laughs and feeds on the pleasures of unlimited reason than being limited by religion. A part of Pride is not taking seriously the dangers of Pride, much less than the demands of Pride.

The role of Pride is dishonest reflection on the self, hence Faustus’ lack of introspection on himself, as a walking 7-in-1 deadly and deathly sinner. How? Faustus watches the parade—not realizing he is a charade of the extravaganza.