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Christopher Marlowe (1564 - 1593)

Marlowe, Christopher

Born in the same year as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe was one of the first great dramatists and poets of the Elizabeth Age. After attending Cambridge University, he came to London in 1587, where he joined the Lord Admiral’s Company as an actor and playwright and met such literary figures as Sir Phillip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh.

The same year he wrote Tamburlaine the Great, a play in blank verse. His other well-known dramas include Dr. Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward II. He also authored the long poem Hero and Leander, which was completed by George Chapman, and “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.” All of his works are distinguished for their heroic themes, passion, and poetic language. However, none of them brought him much profit, and he grew frustrated with his situation in life.

In 1593, at the age of twenty-nine, Marlowe was suspected of heresy but was found dead before he could be brought before the Privy Council. He had been stabbed in a tavern in Deptford, reputedly over a quarrel about the dinner bill. However, some scholars believe that the murder might have been a deliberate plot connected to Marlowe’s activities as a secret government agent.

Whatever the case may be, Christopher Marlowe’s contribution to Elizabethan drama was already complete. During his short life, he was able to bring high poetry back to the English stage and pave the way for William Shakespeare himself.

Famous quotations by Christopher Marlowe:

  • Above our life we love a steadfast friend.

  • Goodness is beauty in the best estate.

  • Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position.

  • Virtue is the fount whence honour springs.

  • Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?

  • Suggested sites for Christopher Marlowe:

    Encyclopedia article about Christopher Marlowe
    Texts by Marlowe
    The Tragical History of Dr. Faust
    Faust(us) sells his soul to a demon in order to gain earthly power.

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