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Transcript of Christopher Marlowe
1564-1593 Parents John and Katherine Marlowe
Scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University Of "common stock" B. A. in 1584; M. A. in 1587
Scholarships were with understanding that he would take holy orders in Anglican church
Cambridge battlefield for Calvinists and anti-Calvinists in 1580s; difference was damnation
Anglican? Catholic? Atheist? Education and Religion Arrested 1589; brawl which resulted in homicide; self-defense; released
1593: his room-mate, dramatist Thomas Kyd arrested for inciting riots against Flemish Protestants; officers found papers denying deity of Christ; Kyd said they were Marlowe’s; Marlowe had to report daily to Privy Council-like house arrest Arrests Kyd reported on Marlowe’s “monstrous opinions,” saying he would “gybe at praiers, & stryve in argument to frustrate & confute what hath byn spoke or wrytt by prophets & such holie men.”
Bains, a former fellow prisoner and possible informer, accused Marlowe of “Damnable Judgement of Religion, and scorn of gods word” and of saying “the first beginning of Religion was only to keep men in awe.” Marlowe’s “Reputation” Bains also accused Marlowe of saying that if there is “any god or religion, then it is in the papistes. . . . [A]ll protestantes are Hypocritical asses. . . .”
Why would this be alarming in 1593? Controversial opinions 1587 Cambridge first refused to grant his master’s because of Marlowe’s absences from college, but Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Council sent a letter stating “that in all his accions he had behaved him selfe orderlie and discreetlie wherebie he had done her Majestie good service, & deserved to be rewarded for his faithful dealinge. . . .”
Frequent trips to Rheims, France--to visit or spy on Catholics? What did he do? Other unexplained absences
Espionage for Sir Thomas Walsingham, head of Elizabeth’s secret service?
1592 letter from prison governor describes Marlowe as “by his profession a scholar.” Just a bit suspicious Dido Queen of Carthage (1586)
Tamburlaine, I and II (1587-88)
The Jew of Malta (1590)
The Massacre at Paris
Edward II (1592-93)
Dr. Faustus (1594) He also wrote a bit. A. C. Swinburne, critic: Marlowe was “the father of English tragedy and the creator of English blank verse.”
Tamburlaine Prologue shows Marlowe’s contempt for stage verse of the period: “jygging vaines of riming mother wits” presented the “conceits [which] clownage keepes in pay.”
Dramatic poets of 16th c followed where Marlowe led; lyric poets of 17th c imitated him. Important? Episodic treatment of events
Humorous subplots that parallel larger themes
Blank verse Influence on Tragedy? Died May 30, 1593 at age of 29, before all reports got to authorities.
Spent day with three men in a house leased for meetings
Fight over “le recknynge”; Marlowe pulled his dagger, Ingram Frazir got it away and stabbed Marlowe over right eye 2” deep and 1” wide; died instantly. Death Parts modeled on Roman comedies of Terence and Plautus.
Puns, slapstick, irony—it’s got it all!
Action of the comic characters parallels the action in the main plot.
Example: Faustus gets a servant; Wagner gets a servant. Faustus learns to conjure; Wagner learns to conjure and teaches his servant. This also develops the themes of power and submission and knowledge. Humour and Sub-Plots Included study of classics and theology
Interest in education for public service
Distrust of vernacular languages because wanted eternal fame for writings; English too changeable Humanism Medieval Medieval into Renaissance Universal Catholicism
Preparing for Imminent Death
Nobility Renaissance Reformation
Living for worldly accomplishments
Rise of Middle Class Individualism
Good and evil
Knowledge and ignorance
Choices and consequences
Appearance and reality
Success and failure
The human condition or meaning of life
Manipulation/Machiavellian action Themes