Drama presents fiction or fact in a form that could be acted before an audience. It is imitation by action and speech. A play has a plot, characters, atmosphere and conflict. Unlike a novel, which in read in private, a play is intended to be performed in public. Christopher Marlowe was a greatest of pre Shakespearian dramatists, poet and translator. Marlowe's plays are known for the use of blank verse, He was known as the Father of English Tragedy Origin and development of British Drama:
The Romans introduced drama to England, during the medieval period. A number of auditoriums were constructed for the performance of the art form, when it came to the country. Mummers' plays, associated with the Morris dance, became a popular form of street theatre during the period. The performances were based on the old stories of Saint George, Robin Hood and Dragon. The artists moved from town to town, to perform these folk tales. They were given money and hospitality, in return for their performance. The mystery and morality plays, performed during medieval period - at religious festivals, carried the Christian theme. The English Renaissance, a cultural and artistic movement in England country that lasted from 16th to early-17th century, paved the way for the dominance of drama in the country. Queen Elizabeth I ruled during the period, when great poetry and drama were produced. The renowned playwrights of this time included William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and John Webster. The dramatists wrote plays based on themes like history, comedy and tragedy. While most of the playwrights specialized in only one of the themes, Shakespeare emerged as an artist who produced plays based on all the three themes. Pre Shakespearian Drama:
The University Wits, nearly all of whom were associated with Oxford and Cambridge, did much to found the Elizabethan school of drama. They were all more or less aquainted with each other, and most of them led irregular and stormy lives. Their plays had several features in common. There was a fondness of heroic themes, such as the lives of great figures like Mohammed and Tamburlaine.Heroic themes needed heroic treatment: great fullness and variety; splendid descriptions, long swelling speeches, the handling of violent incidents and emotions. These qualities, excellent when held in restraint, only too often led to loudness and disorder. The style also was ‘heroic’. The chief aim was to achieve strong and sounding lines, magnificient epithets, and powerful declamation. This again led to abuse and to mere bombast, mouthing, and in the worst cases to nonsense. In the best examples, such as in Marlowe, the result is quite impressive. In this connection it is to be noted that the best medium for such expression was blank verse, which was sufficiently elastic to bear the strong pressure of these expansive methods. The themes were usually tragic in nature, for the dramatists were as a rule too much in earnest to give heed to what was considered to be the lower species of comedy. The general lack of real humour in the early drama is one of its most prominent features. Humour, when it is brought in at all, is coarse and immature. Christopher Marlowe (1564 – 1593):
Marlowe’s Early Life:
Christopher Marlowe, English dramatist, the father of English tragedy, and instaurator of dramatic blank verse, the eldest son of a shoemaker at Canterbury, was born in that city on the 6th of February 1564. He was christened at St George's Church, Canterbury, on the 26th of February, 1563/4, some two months before Shakespeare's baptism at Stratford-on-Avon. His father, John Marlowe, is said to have been the grandson of John Morley or Marlowe, a substantial tanner of Canterbury. The father, who survived by a dozen years or so his illustrious son, married on the 22nd of May 1561 Catherine, daughter of Christopher Arthur, at one time rector of St Peter's, Canterbury, who had been...
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