The Knowledge Of Good And Evil Essay

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The Knowledge Of Good And Evil Essay, Research Paper The quest for knowledge and learning has been occuring since the creation of mankind. Ever since the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, promising she would wise as the gods, man has been battling with this endless pursuit. Some men want wisdom so that they may be able to live a good and righteous life. Other men want only the power that knowledge can bring them, to use it for their own sinful purposes. Literature tells the history of two very different men who had this desire for wisdom; King Solomon in the Old Testament, remembered for his wisdom and uprightness; and the legendary Doctor Faustus, known for his sinful pact with the devil. While

driven by opposing forces, both men wanted to be exceedingly wise, and each had an encounter with a remarkable woman because of it. The bible recounts the story of the great King Solomon, the son of the notable King David. By following God and his commandments, David had built his empire into a legacy, which was then passed on to Solomon. Soon after Solomon’s reign began, the Lord appeared to him in a dream, offering him anything he desired. Solomon’s request was wisdom and knowledge, so that he may govern his people fairly, and know the difference between good and the bad. Therefore, God granted Solomon wisdom, that of which no one before or since has had in such abundance. And because Solomon chose wisdom, showing concern for his people, God decided to reward him with not

only knowledge, but with riches and honor to set him apart from all other kings in history. Solomon then used his riches to build an official house for the lord, to show his love and reverence for God Almighty. Solomon’s reputation quickly spread, reaching the Queen of Sheba. Intrigued, she visited him, bringing rich gifts with her: spices, gold, precious stones. The queen was very smart herself, almost an equal in money and riches to Solomon. Upon meeting Solomon though, the queen was immediately impressed by his wisdom. She soon converted to his religion, swearing that his God must indeed be the greatest. Solomon’s righteousness and virtue are the antithesis of Doctor Faustus, the title character of Christopher Marlowe’s play, “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.”

In this story, we see a man with no regard for his own eternal soul, nor for the welfare of anyone he encounters. Rather, he is willing to spend eternity in hell just so that he can fulfill his own selfish desires. Marlowe based his tale on that of a magician name Doctor John Faustus who was well known in his day for his wickedness, blasphemy, and for sodomizing young boys. Protestant leaders used the story of Faustus, his heinous sins, and the horrible death he suffered as an example to unbelievers during the Reformation. Marlowe took the character and wrote a play about him, capitalizing on the rumors and stories of his wickedness. In this version, Doctor Faustus is a man of learning who decided to cast away his studies and turn to black magic. He felt that he had come to the

end of what he could learn under his own human power, and wanted to move into the supernatural world. Faustus wanted not only answers to all of the questions he had been researching over the years, he wanted the power that knowledge can give. The power that Faustus gained corrupted him, and rather than a seeker of knowledge, he became a seeker of pleasure. As Faustus pondered the idea of turning to black magic, a good angel and an evil angel joined the debate. The good angel pleaded with Faustus to turn away from the occult, while the evil angel tempted Faustus, just as the serpent did Eve. He told Faustus to “Be thou on Earth as Jove is in the sky, Lord and commander of these elements” (lines 76-77). In a later scene, the evil angel told Faustus to think of honor and wealth,