Christopher Marlowe

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Christopher Marlowe
Many major and influential authors emerged during the Renaissance. Among these talented individuals was Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe and his fellow writers of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, impacted the course of writing, which preceded their life. Their works continue to be read and studied by numerous people, to this day. Christopher Marlowe was a dominant English poet and playwright, who perhaps was William Shakespeare’s most important predecessor in England (Britannica 917). Of all writers in the Elizabethan era, he was perhaps the most dashing, tempestuous, and appealing (Microsoft Encarta). Although Marlowe was considered the most important dramatist, prior to Shakespeare, his entire career as a playwright lasted only six years. Marlowe was born on February 6th, 1564 in Canterbury, England. His father, John Marlowe, was a shoemaker and tanner. His mother, Catherine Author, was the daughter of a clergyman. Marlowe attended Kings School in Canterbury, England. At Kings School, he received a very regimented education, which was considered one of the best available during that time. The school day began and ended with a prayer at six am and five p.m. respectively. In addition to daily instruction in religion and music, they also sang the morning mass in the Cathedral. The boys were allowed to speak solely in Latin, even while at play. He was granted a scholarship, established by Matthew Perry, to attend Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. (Gale Research) After receiving his BA in 1584, he became known as “Dominus” Marlowe(. At age twenty-one, his motto was “That which nourishes me, destroys me” (Kunitz 823). This statement foretold and shaped his writing style. From thereafter, many absences from the university were recorded. In 1587, he was allowed to obtain his Masters, only after the Privy Council sent a letter to the university making it very clear that his service to the government had frequently taken him abroad. He left Cambridge after six and a half years of study with the intention of taking holy orders and entering the Anglican Church, as ordained by his scholarship. However, instead he entered the government service, as an agent. In edition, Marlowe became a playwright for the London theatres. As an occasional actor in 1589, Marlowe maintained his role as a regular dramatist for the Lord Admirals Company. He also wrote for The Earl of Nottinghams Companies. Marlowe was often in trouble with the law, and little is known about his life, aside from his writings. He led an adventurous and dissolute life. Earlier playwrights concentrated on comedy, while Marlowe worked on tragedy, and advanced it considerably as a dramatic medium. By uncovering the great possibilities for strength and variety of expression in blank verse, Marlowe helped to establish the verse as the predominant form in the English drama. His first successful play, Tamburlaine the Great, was divided into two sections, parts one and two. It appeared that originally Marlowe intended to only write the first part. However, the popularity of the first part motivated him to create a second part. It was produced at Rose Theatre from 1587 to 1588, and published by R. Jhones in 1590. The ambition-maddened hero, in Tamburlaine the Great, was a shepherd, who desired the crown, luxury and power. However, his conquests were damaged by his absurdity. Tamburlaine marked the birth of the Shakespearean drama. The following lines from Tamburlaine illustrate Marlowe’s opinion of human glory: Nature that fram’d us of four elements

Warring within our breasts for regiment,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds: Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend
The wondrous architecture of the world,
And measure every wandering planet’s course,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite,
And always...
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