Let me preface this by apologizing, for I am about to include one of my favourite tv shows in this blog post. I have two good reasons: 1) Because I can, and 2) Because it actually has something to do with the text.
So this week our assigned reading was Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. For those unfamiliar with the text, it is about a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for power and knowledge.
You may be thinking, What?! Why would someone do such a crazy and stupid thing?!
Well, in one of favourite shows, Supernatural, this theme is one that is brought up often. What must be going on in someone’s head to make a deal with the devil, especially as, historically speaking, the devil doesn’t seem like a very trust-worthy guy.
In Supernatural, the main character’s have often made deals with demons and devils alike, usually for a good reason. In their cases, they do it to save family members, or to try to right a wrong. Sometimes even, to save the world
Unlike them, Faustus does not seem to do it for others, or the greater good. His reasons are for him, and eventually lead to his demise (surprise, surprise!).
This question is one I have always been curious about: in our day and age, what would it take for someone to make a deal with the devil? Knowing full well it may not end nicely?
What would possess someone to do something so risky? Extreme poverty, sickness, depression?
It makes you wonder what we as humans are capable of doing if we really want something enough.
This idea of making a deal with the devil is definitely fairly common in the past and present of whatever culture we are part of, but I didn’t know about it being prominent in Supernaturalm because I haven’t watched the show! The idea of doing it in order to save others could be read as a kind of self-sacrifice to save others, though of an extreme kind of course. It’s like just really driving home the point of self-sacrifice, it seems to me. It’s an interesting question what would inspire people to go to such an extreme. Is there anything that one believes in, cares about that much? I honestly don’t know for myself, though I think saving my child would at least come close!
I definitely think children would be a common factor for many people. In the show, deals are often made for one brother to save the other, or vice versa. Sometimes, they were made to save surrogate family members, or the lives of a large group of people.
I always find this topic interesting, because knowing how these deals often go, would we still make them? For example, in the show I mentioned, the characters are very aware how dangerous these deals are, yet they still feel compelled to do them. In the same way, I wonder what would lead me to make such a deal, knowing the consequences. I feel it would be something very big, like my family.
I definitely feel Faustus’ was a bad decision. Knowledge is amazing, but is it worth risking everything?