Dr. Faustus

 

“If we say that we have no sin
We deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us.
–Faustus to himself, Dr. Faustus

 

 

No one can deny Dr. Faustus remains to be one of Christopher Marlowe’s famous plays. Personally, I think the play The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus is far better than any plays of Shakespeare and can be equated with the standards of Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.

The story is about Dr. Faustus, a famous scholar in Wittenberg, whose obsession was to know more, and whose passion geared towards studying necromancy, or conjuration of the spirits of the dead. While he was still in his study, the good angel and the bad angel went to him. The good angel persuaded him to stop his ambition to become a necromancy practitioner and fear God, while the bad angel persuaded him that by studying necromancy he could be rich and powerful above all. Things got really dark when Faustus told Mephistopheles that he was ready to surrender his soul to his master Lucifer in exchange of luxurious life and power for 24 years. And so, Faustus made a pact with Lucifer, and for 24 years he traveled the world with evil in his mind. Some of these were drugging the Pope’s ministers with a sleeping potion, convincing the Pope to condemn a man named Bruno, performing annoying tricks to some people, and most of all, condemning the existence of God.

After 24 years, Lucifer and Mephistopheles were now ready to take Faustus’s soul. Although throughout the play he was bothered with repentance and fear of damnation, it was in the end that he finally realized the folly of his actions. But it was already too late for him.

What’s good about Dr. Faustus is that Marlowe incorporated the conflict of the good and evil in the form of good angel and bad angel, and this conflict became Faustus’s internal struggle. But due to his insatiable desires and thirst for more knowledge and supreme power, Faustus is bound to be damned. The readers would feel his moments of contrition, but since he always ended up choosing evil in the end, then we also feel that he should be doomed. He was too driven with greed and ambition.

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In the Field

I still remember the time when I joined the class field trip to General Santos to visit the three seed companies there – Monsanto Research, Syngenta and Dow AgroSciences (DAS). The field trip was memorable because I learned a lot of things.

Monsanto Philippines are currently working on corn, cotton and soybean products. Monsanto uses cry1ab transgenes in their commercial fields. The company’s objective is to raise the genetic potential of the plant to fight yield suppressions such as corn borers, weeds, rootworms, etc. With these, Monsanto products are Bt hybrids with insect or weed control, or a combination of both (Yield Guard, Round-Up Ready, Mon810). The company’s plant breeders said that they were able to fight pests effectively, thus this increases the yield. They can also plant three times in a year, instead of two, and they don’t need to control and manage the weeds too. Currently, they are working on drought-tolerant corn, products with omega-3 proteins or balanced proteins, which will be available in the future. Continue reading