Early lifeChristopher Marlowe, the second of 9 children, and oldest child after the death of his sister Mary in 1568, was born to shoemaker John Marlowe and his wife Katherine, daughter of William Arthur of . He was baptised at St George's Church, Canterbury, on 26 February 1564 (1563 in the old style dates in use at the time, which placed the new year on 25 March). Marlowe's birth was likely to have been a few days before, making him about two months older than , who was baptised on 26 April 1564 in . By age 14, Marlowe attended , Canterbury on scholarship and two years later , where he also studied on scholarship and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1584. Marlowe mastered during his schooling, reading and translating the works of . In 1587, the university hesitated to award his Master of Arts degree because of a rumour that he intended to go to the English seminary at in northern , presumably to prepare for ordination as a priest. If true, such an action on his part would have been a direct violation of royal edict issued by in 1585 criminalising any attempt by an English citizen to be ordained in the Roman Catholic Church. Large-scale violence between and on the European continent has been cited by scholars as the impetus for the 's defensive anti-Catholic laws issued from 1581 until her death in 1603. Despite the dire implications for Marlowe, his degree was awarded on schedule when the intervened on his behalf, commending him for his "faithful dealing" and "good service" to . The nature of Marlowe's service was not specified by the Council, but its letter to the Cambridge authorities has provoked much speculation by modern scholars, notably the theory that Marlowe was operating as a secret agent for Privy Council member Sir . The only surviving evidence of the Privy Council's correspondence is found in their minutes, the letter being lost. There is no mention of in the minutes, but its summation of the lost Privy Council letter is vague in meaning, stating that "it was not Her Majesties pleasure" that persons employed as Marlowe had been "in matters touching the benefit of his country should be defamed by those who are ignorant in th'affaires he went about." Scholars agree the vague wording was typically used to protect government agents, but they continue to debate what the "matters touching the benefit of his country" actually were in Marlowe's case and how they affected the 23-year-old writer as he launched his literary career in 1587.
Adult life and legendAs with other Elizabethans, little is known about Marlowe's adult life. All available evidence, other than what can be deduced from his literary works, is found in legal records and other official documents. This has not stopped writers of fiction and non-fiction from speculating about his professional activities, private life and character. Marlowe has often been described as a spy, a brawler and a heretic, as well as a "magician", "duellist", "tobacco-user", "counterfeiter" and " ". While J. A. Downie and Constance Kuriyama have argued against the more lurid speculations, it is the usually circumspect J. B. Steane who remarked, "it seems absurd to dismiss all of these Elizabethan rumours and accusations as 'the Marlowe myth. To understand his brief adult life, from 1587 to 1593, much has been written, including speculation of: his involvement in royally sanctioned espionage; his vocal declaration as an atheist; his private, and possibly same-sex, sexual interests; and the puzzling circumstances surrounding his death.
SpyingMarlowe is alleged to have been a government spy. Park Honan and Charles Nicholl speculate that this was the case and suggest that Marlowe's recruitment took place when he was at Cambridge. In 1587, when the Privy Council ordered the University of Cambridge to award Marlowe his degree as Master of Arts, it denied rumours that he intended to go to the English Catholic college in Rheims, saying instead that he had been engaged in unspecified "affaires" on "matters touching the benefit of his country". Surviving college records from the period also indicate that, in the academic year 1584–1585, Marlowe had had a series of unusually lengthy absences from the university which violated university regulations. Surviving college accounts, which record student purchases for personal provisions, show that Marlowe began spending lavishly on food and drink during the periods he was in attendance; the amount was more than he could have afforded on his known scholarship income. It has been speculated that Marlowe was the "Morley" who was tutor to in 1589. This possibility was first raised in a '' '' letter by E. St John Brooks in 1937; in a letter to '' '', John Baker has added that only Marlowe could have been Arbella's tutor owing to the absence of any other known "Morley" from the period with an MA and not otherwise occupied. If Marlowe was Arbella's tutor, it might indicate that he was there as a spy, since Arbella, niece of , and cousin of James VI of Scotland, later , was at the time a strong candidate for the succession to Elizabeth's throne. Frederick S. Boas dismisses the possibility of this identification, based on surviving legal records which document Marlowe's "residence in London between September and December 1589". Marlowe had been party to a fatal quarrel involving his neighbours and the poet Thomas Watson in and was held in for a fortnight. In fact, the quarrel and his arrest occurred on 18 September, he was released on bail on 1 October and he had to attend court, where he was acquitted on 3 December, but there is no record of where he was for the intervening two months. In 1592 Marlowe was arrested in the English of (Vlissingen) in the Netherlands, for alleged involvement in the of coins, presumably related to the activities of seditious Catholics. He was sent to the Lord Treasurer ( Burghley), but no charge or imprisonment resulted. This arrest may have disrupted another of Marlowe's spying missions, perhaps by giving the resulting coinage to the Catholic cause. He was to infiltrate the followers of the active Catholic plotter William Stanley and report back to Burghley.
PhilosophyMarlowe was reputed to be an , which held the dangerous implication of being an enemy of God and the state, by association. With the rise of public fears concerning The School of Night, or "School of Atheism" in the late 16th century, accusations of atheism were closely associated with disloyalty to the Protestant monarchy of England. Some modern historians consider that Marlowe's professed atheism, as with his supposed Catholicism, may have been no more than a sham to further his work as a government spy. Contemporary evidence comes from Marlowe's accuser in , an informer called Richard Baines. The governor of Flushing had reported that each of the men had "of malice" accused the other of instigating the counterfeiting and of intending to go over to the Catholic "enemy"; such an action was considered atheistic by the . Following Marlowe's arrest in 1593, Baines submitted to the authorities a "note containing the opinion of one Christopher Marly concerning his damnable judgment of religion, and scorn of God's word". Baines attributes to Marlowe a total of eighteen items which "scoff at the pretensions of the and " such as, "Christ was a bastard and his mother dishonest nchaste, "the woman of Samaria and her sister were whores and that Christ knew them dishonestly", "St was bedfellow to Christ and leaned always in his bosom" (cf. John 13:23–25) and "that he used him as the sinners of Sodom". He also implied that Marlowe had Catholic sympathies. Other passages are merely sceptical in tone: "he persuades men to atheism, willing them not to be afraid of s and hobgoblins". The final paragraph of Baines's document reads: Similar examples of Marlowe's statements were given by after his imprisonment and possible torture (see above); Kyd and Baines connect Marlowe with the mathematician 's and Sir 's circle. Another document claimed about that time that "one Marlowe is able to show more sound reasons for Atheism than any divine in England is able to give to prove divinity, and that ... he hath read the Atheist lecture to Sir Walter Raleigh and others". Some critics believe that Marlowe sought to disseminate these views in his work and that he identified with his rebellious and iconoclastic protagonists. Plays had to be approved by the before they could be performed and the censorship of publications was under the control of the . Presumably these authorities did not consider any of Marlowe's works to be unacceptable other than the ''Amores''.
SexualityIt has been claimed that Marlowe was homosexual. Some scholars argue that the identification of an Elizabethan as gay or homosexual in the modern sense is "anachronistic," claiming that for the Elizabethans the terms were more likely to have been applied to sexual acts rather than to what we currently understand to be exclusive sexual orientations and identities. Other scholars argue that the evidence is inconclusive and that the reports of Marlowe's homosexuality may be rumours produced after his death. Richard Baines reported Marlowe as saying: "all they that love not Tobacco & Boies were fools". and Eric C. Rasmussen describe Baines's evidence as "unreliable testimony" and "These and other testimonials need to be discounted for their exaggeration and for their having been produced under legal circumstances we would now regard as a witch-hunt". J. B. Steane remarked that he considered there to be "no evidence for Marlowe's homosexuality at all". Other scholars point to the frequency with which Marlowe explores homosexual themes in his writing: in '' '', Marlowe writes of the male youth Leander: "in his looks were all that men desire..." '' '' contains the following passage enumerating homosexual relationships: Marlowe wrote the only about the life of up to his time, taking the literary discussion of male sexuality much further than his contemporaries. The play was extremely bold, dealing with a star-crossed love story between Edward II and . Though it was a common practice at the time to reveal characters as gay to give audiences reason to suspect them as culprits in a crime, Christopher Marlowe's Edward II is portrayed as a sympathetic character. The decision to start the play '' Dido, Queen of Carthage'' with a homoerotic scene between and Ganymede that bears no connection to the subsequent plot has long puzzled scholars.
Arrest and deathIn early May 1593, several bills were posted about London threatening Protestant refugees from France and the Netherlands who had settled in the city. One of these, the "Dutch church libel", written in rhymed , contained allusions to several of Marlowe's plays and was signed, " ". On 11 May the ordered the arrest of those responsible for the libels. The next day, Marlowe's colleague was arrested, his lodgings were searched and a three-page fragment of a tract was found. In a letter to Sir John Puckering, Kyd asserted that it had belonged to Marlowe, with whom he had been writing "in one chamber" some two years earlier.For a full transcript of Kyd's letter, se
Reputation among contemporary writersFor his contemporaries in the literary world, Marlowe was above all an admired and influential artist. Within weeks of his death, George Peele remembered him as "Marley, the Muses' darling"; Michael Drayton noted that he "Had in him those brave translunary things / That the first poets had" and Ben Jonson wrote of "Marlowe's mighty line". Thomas Nashe wrote warmly of his friend, "poor deceased Kit Marlowe," as did the publisher Edward Blount in his dedication of ''Hero and Leander'' to Sir Thomas Walsingham. Among the few contemporary dramatists to say anything negative about Marlowe was the anonymous author of the Cambridge University play ''Parnassus plays, The Return from Parnassus'' (1598) who wrote, "Pity it is that wit so ill should dwell, / Wit lent from heaven, but vices sent from hell". The most famous tribute to Marlowe was paid by Shakespeare in ''As You Like It'', where he not only quotes a line from '' '' ("Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might, 'Who ever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight?) but also gives to the clown Touchstone (As You Like It), Touchstone the words "When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room". This appears to be a reference to Marlowe's murder which involved a fight over the "reckoning", the bill, as well as to a line in Marlowe's ''Jew of Malta''; "Infinite riches in a little room". Shakespeare was much influenced by Marlowe in his work, as can be seen in the use of Marlovian themes in ''Antony and Cleopatra'', ''The Merchant of Venice'', ''Richard II (play), Richard II'' and ''Macbeth'' (''Dido'', ''Jew of Malta'', ''Edward II'' and ''Doctor Faustus'', respectively). In ''Hamlet'', after meeting with the travelling actors, Hamlet requests the Player perform a speech about the Trojan War, which at 2.2.429–32 has an echo of Marlowe's '' Dido, Queen of Carthage''. In ''Love's Labour's Lost'' Shakespeare brings on a character "Marcade" (three syllables) in conscious acknowledgement of Marlowe's character "Mercury", also attending the King of Navarre, in ''Massacre at Paris''. The significance, to those of Shakespeare's audience who were familiar with ''Hero and Leander'', was Marlowe's identification of himself with the god Mercury (mythology), Mercury.
Shakespeare authorship theoryAn argument has arisen about the notion that Marlowe may have faked his death and then continued to write under the assumed name of William Shakespeare. Academic consensus rejects alternative candidates for authorship of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, including Marlowe.
PlaysSix dramas have been attributed to the authorship of Christopher Marlowe either alone or in collaboration with other writers, with varying degrees of evidence. The writing sequence or chronology of these plays is mostly unknown and is offered here with any dates and evidence known. Among the little available information we have, ''Dido'' is believed to be the first Marlowe play performed, while it was ''Tamburlaine'' that was first to be performed on a regular commercial stage in London in 1587. Believed by many scholars to be Marlowe's greatest success, ''Tamburlaine'' was the first English play written in and, with 's ''The Spanish Tragedy'', is generally considered the beginning of the mature phase of the Elizabethan theatre. Works (The dates of composition are approximate).: * '' Dido, Queen of Carthage'' (''c''. 1585–1587; possibly co-written with Thomas Nashe; printed 1594) * '' ''; Part I (''c''. 1587), Part II (''c''. 1587–1588; printed 1590) * ''The Jew of Malta'' (''c''. 1589–1590; printed 1633) * ''Doctor Faustus (play), Doctor Faustus'' (''c''. 1588–1592; printed 1604 & 1616) * ''Edward II (play), Edward II'' (''c''. 1592; printed 1594) * ''The Massacre at Paris'' (''c''. 1593; printed ''c.'' 1594) The play ''Lust's Dominion'' was attributed to Marlowe upon its initial publication in 1657, though scholars and critics have almost unanimously rejected the attribution. He may also have written or co-written ''Arden of Faversham''.
Poetry and translationsPublication and responses to the poetry and translations credited to Marlowe primarily occurred posthumously, including: * ''Amores (Ovid), Amores'', first book of Latin elegiac couplets by Ovid with translation by Marlowe (''c''. 1580s); copies publicly burned as offensive in 1599. * ''The Passionate Shepherd to His Love'', by Marlowe. (''c.'' 1587–1588); a popular lyric of the time. * '' '', by Marlowe (''c.'' 1593, unfinished; completed by George Chapman, 1598; printed 1598). * ''Pharsalia'', Book One, by Lucan with translation by Marlowe. (''c.'' 1593; printed 1600)
CollaborationsModern scholars still look for evidence of collaborations between Marlowe and other writers. In 2016, one publisher was the first to endorse the scholarly claim of a collaboration between Marlowe and the playwright William Shakespeare: * ''Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI'' by William Shakespeare is now credited as a collaboration with Marlowe in the The Oxford Shakespeare, New Oxford Shakespeare series, published in 2016. Marlowe appears as co-author of the three ''Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI'' plays, though some scholars doubt any actual collaboration.
Contemporary receptionMarlowe's plays were enormously successful, possibly because of the imposing stage presence of his lead actor, Edward Alleyn. Alleyn was unusually tall for the time and the haughty roles of Tamburlaine, Faustus and Barabas were probably written for him. Marlowe's plays were the foundation of the repertoire of Alleyn's company, the Admiral's Men, throughout the 1590s. One of Marlowe's poetry translations did not fare as well. In 1599, Marlowe's translation of was banned and copies were publicly burned as part of John Whitgift, Archbishop Whitgift's crackdown on offensive material.
Chronology of dramatic worksThis is a ''possible chronology of composition'' for the dramatic works of Christopher Marlowe based upon dates previously cited. The dates of composition are approximate. There are other chronologies for Marlowe, including one based upon dates of printing, as was used in the 2004 ''Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe'', edited by Patrick Cheney.
'' Dido, Queen of Carthage'' (''c.'' 1585–1587):''First official record'': 1594. :''First published'': 1594; posthumously. :''First recorded performance'': between 1587 and 1593 by the Children of the Chapel, a company of boy actors in London. :''Additional information (title and synopsis)'': Full title ''Dido, Queen of Carthage (play), The Tragedie of Dido, Queene of Carthage''; 17-character cast plus other additional Trojans, Carthaginians, servants and attendants. In this short play, believed to be based on books 1, 2 and 4 of Virgil, Virgil's ''Aeneid'', the Trojan soldier Aeneas leaves the fallen city of Troy to the conquering Greeks and finds shelter for his fellow Trojan survivors with Dido, Queen of Carthage. The gods interfere with the love lives of Dido and Aeneas, with Venus using Cupid to trick Dido into falling in love with Aeneas, rather than Iarbas, her Carthaginian suitor. Dido and Aeneas pledge their love to each other, but the Trojans warn Aeneas that their future is in Italy, which is also where Mercury and the other gods order Aeneas to go. The play ends when Aeneas leaves for Italy with the Trojans and as Dido sets off a triple suicide by throwing herself on a funeral pyre in despair, followed by her despairing suitor Iarbus and then by Anna, who loves Iarbus. :''Additional information (significance)'': This play is believed by many scholars to be the first play by Christopher Marlowe to be performed. :''Additional information (attribution)'': The title page attributes the play to Marlowe and Thomas Nashe, yet some scholars question how much of a contribution Nashe made to the play. :''Evidence'': No manuscripts by Marlowe exist for this play.
'', Part I'' (''c.'' 1587); ''Part II'' (''c.'' 1587–1588) :''First official record'': 1587, Part I. :''First published'': 1590, Parts I and II in one octavo, . No author named. :''First recorded performance'': 1587, Part I, by the Admiral's Men, London. :''Additional information (title and synopsis)'': Full title, as it appears on the 1590 octavo for Part I, ''Tamburlaine, Tamburlaine the Great. Who, from a Scythian Shephearde, by his rare and woonderfull Conquests, became a most puissant and mightye Monarque. And (for his tyranny, and terrour in Warre) was tearmed, The Scourge of God.'', and for Part II, ''Tamburlaine, The Second Part of The bloody Conquests of mighty Tamburlaine. With his impassionate fury, for the death of his Lady and loue faire Zenocrate; his fourme of exhortacion and discipline to his three sons, and the maner of his own death.''; large 26-character cast for each of the two parts. Part I concerns the conqueror Timur (Tamerlane), as he rises from nomadic shepherd and bandit to warlord and emperor of Persia, conquering the Persians, the Turkish people, Turks, the Egyptians, and all of Africa in the process. Part II concerns Tamerlaine as he raises his sons to become conquerors like himself through acts of extreme and heartless savagery against everyone, including the killing of one of his own sons who disappoints him. After he visits extraordinary barbarism upon the Babylonians, Tamerlaine burns the Quran with contempt and later falls ill and dies. :''Additional information (significance)'': '' '' is the first example of used in the drama, dramatic literature of the English renaissance theatre, Early Modern English theatre. :''Additional information (attribution)'': Author name is missing from first printing in 1590. Attribution of this work by scholars to Marlowe is based upon comparison to his other verified works. Passages and character development in ''Tamburlane'' are similar to many other Marlowe works. :''Evidence'': No manuscripts by Marlowe exist for this play. Parts I and II were entered into the Stationers' Register on 14 August 1590. The two parts were published together by the London printer, Richard Jones, in 1590; a second edition in 1592, and a third in 1597. The 1597 edition of the two parts were published separately in quarto by Edward White; part I in 1605, and part II in 1606.
''The Jew of Malta'' (''c.'' 1589–1590):''First official record'': 1592. :''First published'': 1592; earliest extant edition, 1633. :''First recorded performance'': 26 February 1592, by Lord Strange's acting company. :''Additional information (title and synopsis)'': First published as ''The Jew of Malta, The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta''; a large 25-character cast plus other additional citizens of Malta, Turkish jannisary, janizaries, guards, attendants and slaves. The play begins with the ghost of a fictionalised Niccolò Machiavelli, Machiavelli, who introduces Barabas, the Jew of Malta, in his counting house. The Governor of Malta has seized the wealth of all Jewish citizens to pay the Turks not to invade. As a consequence, Barabas designs and executes a homicidal tirade of events in retaliation against the governor and is assisted by his slave, Ithamore. Barabas' murderous streak includes: the governor's son dying in a duel; frightening his own daughter, who joins a nunnery for safety but is afterward poisoned by her father; the strangling of an old friar and the framing of another friar for the murder; and, the death of Ithamore, a prostitute and her friend, who had threatened to expose him. Finally, Barabas betrays Malta by planning another invasion by the Turks, but is outwitted when the Christians and Turks resolve the conflict and leave him to burn alive in a trap he has set for others, but has mistakenly fallen into himself. :''Additional information (significance)'': The performances of the play were a success and it remained popular for the next fifty years. This play helps to establish the strong theme of "anti-authoritarianism" that is found throughout Marlowe's works. :''Evidence'': No manuscripts by Marlowe exist for this play. The play was entered in the Stationers' Register on 17 May 1594 but the earliest surviving printed edition is from 1633.
''Doctor Faustus (play), Doctor Faustus'' (''c.'' 1588–1592):''First official record'': 1594–1597. :''First published'': 1601, no extant literature, extant copy; first extant literature, extant copy, 1604 (A text) quarto; 1616 (B text) quarto. :''First recorded performance'': 1594–1597; 24 revival performances occurred between these years by the Admiral's Men, Lord Admiral's Company, The Rose (theatre), Rose Theatre, ; earlier performances probably occurred around 1589 by the same company. :''Additional information (title and synopsis)'': Full title, ''Doctor Faustus (play), The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus''; a very large 35-character cast, plus other additional scholars, cardinals, soldiers, and devils. Based on the German ''Faustbuch'', which itself can be traced to a fourth-century tale known as Deal with the Devil, "The Devil's Pact," Marlowe's play opens with a Prologue, where the Chorus introduces Faust, Doctor Faustus and his story. Faustus is a brilliant scholar who leaves behind the study of logic, medicine, law and divinity to study magic and necromancy, the art of speaking to the dead. When he is approached by a Good and Bad Angel, it is the Bad Angel who wins his attentions by promising that he will become a great magician. Faustus ignores his other scholarly duties and attempts to summon a devil. By revoking his own baptism he attracts the attention of Lucifer, Mephistopheles and other devils. Faustus strikes a pact with Lucifer, allowing him 24 years with Mephistopheles as his assistant, but after the pact begins Mephistopheles will not answer Faustus' questions. The two angels return, but even though Faustus waffles, coercion from the devils has him again swear allegiance to Lucifer. Faustus achieves nothing worthwhile with his pact, warns other scholars of his folly, and the play ends with Faustus dragged off to Hell by Mephistopheles as the Chorus attempts a moral summation of events with an Epilogue. :''Additional information (significance)'': This is the first dramatised version of the Faust legend of a scholar's dealing with the devil. Marlowe deviates from earlier versions of Deal with the Devil, "The Devil's Pact" significantly: Marlowe's protagonist is unable to "burn his books" or repent to a merciful God to have his contract annulled at the end of the play; he is carried off by demons; and, in the 1616 quarto, his mangled corpse is found by the scholar characters. :''Additional information (attribution)'': The 'B text' was highly edited and censored, owing in part to the shifting theatre laws regarding religious words onstage during the seventeenth-century. Because it contains several additional scenes believed to be the additions of other playwrights, particularly Samuel Rowley and William Bird (''alias'' Borne), a recent edition attributes the authorship of both versions to "Christopher Marlowe and his collaborator and revisers." This recent edition has tried to establish that the 'A text' was assembled from Marlowe's work and another writer, with the 'B text' as a later revision. :''Evidence'': No manuscripts by Marlowe exist for this play. The two earliest-printed extant literature, extant versions of the play, A and B, form a textual problem for scholars. Both were published after Marlowe's death and scholars disagree which text is more representative of Marlowe's original. Some editions are based on a combination of the two texts. Late-twentieth-century scholarly consensus identifies 'A text' as more representative because it contains irregular character names and idiosyncratic spelling, which are believed to reflect the author's handwritten manuscript or "foul papers". In comparison, 'B text' is highly edited with several additional scenes possibly written by other playwrights.
'''' (''c.'' 1592) :''First official record'': 1593. :''First published'': 1590; earliest extant edition 1594 octavo. :''First recorded performance'': 1592, performed by the Earl of Pembroke's Men. :''Additional information (title and synopsis)'': Full title of the earliest extant edition, ''Edward II (play), The troublesome reigne and lamentable death of Edward the second, King of England, with the tragicall fall of proud Mortimer''; a very large 35-character cast plus other additional lords, monks, poor men, mower, champion, messengers, soldiers, ladies and attendants. An English history play partly based on ''Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland'' (1577; revised 1587) about the deposition of King by his barons and the Queen, who resent the undue influence the king's favourites have in court and state affairs. :''Additional information (significance)'': Considered by recent scholars as Marlowe's "most modern play" because of its probing treatment of the private life of a king and unflattering depiction of the power politics of the time. The 1594 editions of ''Edward II'' and of ''Dido'' are the first published plays with Marlowe's name appearing as the author. :''Additional information (attribution)'': Earliest extant edition of 1594. :''Evidence'': The play was entered into the Stationers' Register on 6 July 1593, five weeks after Marlowe's death.
''The Massacre at Paris'' (''c.'' 1589–1593):''First official record'': ''c.'' 1593, alleged Foul papers, foul sheet by Marlowe of "Scene 15"; although authorship by Marlowe is contested by recent scholars, the manuscript is believed written while the play was first performed and with an unknown purpose.: :''First published'': undated, ''c.'' 1594 or later, octavo, London; while this is the most complete surviving text, it is near half the length of Marlowe's other works and possibly a reconstruction. The printer and publisher credit, "E.A. for Edward White," also appears on the 1605/06 printing of Marlowe's '' ''. :''First recorded performance'': 26 Jan 1593, by Lord Strange's Men, at Henslowe's The Rose (theatre), Rose Theatre, London, under the title ''The Tragedy of the Guise''; 1594, in the repertory of the Admiral's Men . :''Additional information (title and synopsis)'': Full title, ''The Massacre at Paris, The Massacre at Paris: With the Death of the Duke of Guise''; very large 36-character cast, plus other additional guards, Protestants, schoolmasters, soldiers, murderers, attendants, etc. A short play that compresses the events prior to and following the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572, into a "curious comic strip history" that reduces seventeen years of religious war into twelve. Considered by some to be Protestant propaganda, English Protestants of the time invoked these events as the blackest example of Catholic treachery. Generally, the extant text is in two parts: the Massacre; and the murder of the Duke of Guise. The prelude to the Massacre begins with a wedding between the sister of France's Catholic king, Charles IX, to the Protestant King of Navarre, which places a Protestant in line for the crown of France. Navarre knows Guise "seeks to murder all the Protestants" in Paris for the wedding, but he trusts the protections promised by Charles IX and the Queen Mother, Catharine (de Medici). The Queen Mother, however, is secretly funding the homicidal plots of Guise, shown to us in murder vignettes executed by Guise henchman. In a soliloquy, Guise tells how all Catholics—even priests—will help murder Protestants. After the first deaths, Charles IX is persuaded to support Guise out of fear of Protestant retaliation. Catholic killers at the Massacre will wear visored helmets marked with a white cross and murder Protestants until the bells cease ringing. Charles IX feels great guilt for the Massacre. As the bells toll, Protestants are chased by soldiers, murder vignettes reveal cruelties and offstage massacres are retold by their killers. • The death of Guise is a series of intrigues. Queen Mother Catherine vows to kill and replace her unreliable son Charles IX, with her son Henry. When Charles IX dies of a broken heart (historically, of tuberculosis), a series of events unfold: Henry III is crowned king of France, but his Queen Mother will replace him as well if he dares to stop the killing of "Puritans"; Henry III makes Duke Joyeux the General of his army against Navarre, whose army is outside Paris and will later slay Joyeux; meanwhile, Guise becomes an unhinged, jealous husband who brings his army and popularity to Paris, whereupon the King has him assassinated for treason; with Guise gone, Navarre pledges his support to Henry III; the Queen Mother mourns the loss of Guise as his brother, the Cardinal, is assassinated; and finally, Henry III is stabbed with a poisoned knife by a friar sent by Guise's other brother, the Duke of Dumaine. The final scene is of the death of Henry III and the rise of Navarre as the first Protestant King of France. :''Additional information (significance)'': ''The Massacre at Paris'' is considered Marlowe's most dangerous play, as agitators in London seized on its theme to advocate the murders of refugees from the Spanish Netherlands, low countries of the Spanish Netherlands, and it warns of this possibility in its last scene. It features the silent "English Agent", whom tradition has identified with Marlowe and his connexions to the secret service. Highest grossing play for Lord Strange's Men in 1593. :''Additional information (attribution)'': A 1593 loose manuscript sheet of the play, called a Foul papers, foul sheet, is alleged to be by Marlowe and has been claimed by some scholars as the only extant play manuscript by the author. It could also provide an approximate date of composition for the play. When compared with the extant printed text and his other work, other scholars reject the attribution to Marlowe. The only surviving printed text of this play is possibly a Memorial reconstruction, reconstruction from memory of Marlowe's original performance text. Current scholarship notes that there are only 1147 lines in the play, half the amount of a typical play of the 1590s. Other evidence that the extant published text may not be Marlowe's original is the uneven style throughout, with two-dimensional characterisations, deteriorating verbal quality and repetitions of content. :''Evidence'': Never appeared in the Stationer's Register.
MemorialsA Marlowe Memorial in the form of a bronze sculpture of ''The Muse of Poetry'' by Edward Onslow Ford was erected by subscription in Buttermarket, Canterbury in 1891. In July 2002, a memorial window to Marlowe, a gift of the Marlowe Society, was unveiled in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. Controversially, a question mark was added to the generally accepted date of death. On 25 October 2011 a letter from Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells was published by ''The Times'' newspaper, in which they called on the Dean and Chapter to remove the question mark on the grounds that it "flew in the face of a mass of unimpugnable evidence". In 2012, they renewed this call in their e-book ''Shakespeare Bites Back'', adding that it "denies history" and again the following year in their book ''Shakespeare Beyond Doubt''. The Marlowe Theatre in , Kent, UK, was named after the town's "most famous" resident in 1949. Originally housed in a former 1920s cinema on St. Margaret's Street, the Marlowe Theatre later moved to a newly converted 1930's era Odeon Cinema in the city. After a 2011 reopening with a newly enhanced state-of-the-art theatre facility, the Marlowe now enjoys some of the country's finest touring companies including, Glyndebourne Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre as well as many major West End theatre, West End musicals.
Marlowe in fictionMarlowe has been used as a character in books, theatre, film, television and radio.
Modern compendiumsThere are at least two major modern scholarly editions of the collected works of Christopher Marlowe: * ''The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe'' (edited by Roma Gill in 1986; Clarendon Press published in partnership with Oxford University Press) * ''The Complete Plays of Christopher Marlowe'' (edited by J. B. Steane in 1969; edited by Frank Romany and Robert Lindsey, Revised Edition, 2004, Penguin) There are also notable scholarly collections of essays concerning the collected works of Christopher Marlowe, including: * ''The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe'' (edited by Patrick Cheney in 2004; Cambridge University Press)
Works of Marlowe in performanceModern productions of the plays of Christopher Marlowe have increased in frequency throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including the following notable productions: *BBC Radio :Broadcast of all six Marlowe plays, May to October, 1993. *Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-on-Avon :''Dido, Queen of Carthage'', directed by Kimberly Sykes, with Chipo Chung as Dido, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre, 2017. :''Tamburlaine the Great'', directed by Terry Hands, with Anthony Sher as Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre, 1992; Barbican Theatre (London), 1993. ::directed by Michael Boyd (theatre director), Michael Boyd, with Jude Owusu as Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre, 2018. :''The Jew of Malta'', directed by Barry Kyle, with Jasper Britton as Barabas, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre, 1987; People's Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, People's Theatre (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) and Barbican Theatre (London), 1988. ::directed by Justin Audibert, with Jasper Britton as Barabas, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre, 2015. :''Edward II'', directed by Gerard Murphy (Irish actor), Gerard Murphy, with Simon Russell Beale as Edward, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre, 1990. :''Doctor Faustus'', directed by John Barton (director), John Barton, with Ian McKellen as Faustus, Nottingham Playhouse (Nottingham) and Aldwych Theatre (London), 1974; Royal Shakespeare Theatre, 1975. ::directed by Barry Kyle with Gerard Murphy as Faustus, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre and Barbican Centre, Pit Theatre (London), 1989. ::directed by Maria Aberg with Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan sharing the roles of Faustus and Mephistophilis, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre and Barbican Centre, Barbican Theatre (London), 2016. *Royal National Theater, Royal National Theatre, London :''Tamburlaine'', directed by Peter Hall (director), Peter Hall, with Albert Finney as Tamburlaine, Olivier Theatre premier production, 1976. :''Dido, Queen of Carthage'', directed by James McDonald with Anastasia Hille as Dido, Royal National Theatre, Cottesloe Theatre, 2009. :''Edward II'', directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, with John Heffernan (actor), John Heffernan as Edward, Olivier Theatre, 2013. *Shakespeare’s Globe, Shakespeare's Globe, London :''Dido, Queen of Carthage'', directed by Tim Carroll, with Rakie Ayola as Dido, 2003. :''Edward II'', directed by Timothy Walker, with Liam Brennan as Edward, 2003. *Other noteworthy productions :''Tamburlaine'', performed at Yale University, New Haven, US, 1919; ::directed by Tyrone Guthrie, with Donald Wolfit as Tamburlaine, Old Vic, London, 1951. :''Doctor Faustus'', co-directed by Orson Welles and John Houseman, with Welles as Faustus and Jack Carter (actor), Jack Carter as Mephistopheles, New York, 1937; ::directed by Adrian Noble, Royal Exchange, Manchester, Royal Exchange, Manchester, 1981. :''Edward II'' directed by Toby Robertson, with John Barton (director), John Barton as Edward, Cambridge, 1951; ::directed by Toby Robertson, with Derek Jacobi as Edward, Cambridge, 1958; ::directed by Toby Robertson, with Ian McKellen as Edward, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh International Festival, 1969; ::directed by Jim Stone, Washington Stage Company, US, 1993; ::directed by Jozsef Ruszt, Budapest, 1998; ::directed by Michael Grandage, with Joseph Fiennes as Edward, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Crucible Theatre, UK, 2001. :''The Massacre in Paris'', directed by Patrice Chéreau, France, 1972. *Adaptations :''Edward II'', Phoenix Society, London, 1923. :''Leben Eduards des Zweiten von England'', by Bertolt Brecht (the first play he directed), Munich Chamber Theatre, Germany, 1924. :''The Life of Edward II of England'', by Marlowe and Bertold Brecht, Brecht, directed by Frank Dunlop (director), Frank Dunlop, National Theatre, UK, 1968. :''Edward II'', adapted as a ballet, choreographed by David Bintley, Stuttgart Ballet, Germany, 1995. :''Doctor Faustus'', additional text by Colin Teevan, directed by Jamie Lloyd (director), Jamie Lloyd, with Kit Harington as Faustus, Duke of York's Theatre London, 2016. :''Faustus, That Damned Woman'' by Chris Bush (playwright), Chris Bush, directed by Caroline Byrne, at Lyric Theatre (Hammersmith), Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London, 2020. *Film :''Doctor Faustus'', based on Nevill Coghill's 1965 production, adapted for Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, 1967. :''Edward II'', directed by Derek Jarman, 1991. :''Faust'', with some Marlowe dialogue, directed by Jan Švankmajer, 1994.
Further reading* Bevington, David, and Eric Rasmussen, eds. ''Doctor Faustus and Other Plays''. Oxford English Drama. Oxford University Press, 1998. * Brooke, C. F. Tucker. "The Life of Marlowe and 'The Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage,'" ''The works and life of Christopher Marlowe''. Vol. 1, ed. R.H. Case, London: Methuen, 1930. (pp. 107, 114, 99, 98) * Chambers, E. K. ''The Elizabethan Stage''. 4 Volumes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923. * Conrad, B. ''Der wahre Shakespeare: Christopher Marlowe''. (German non-Fiction book) 5th Edition, 2016. * Cornelius R. M. ''Christopher Marlowe's Use of the Bible''. New York: P. Lang, 1984. * Downie J. A.; Parnell J. T., eds. ''Constructing Christopher Marlowe'', Cambridge 2000. * Park Honan, Honan, Park. ''Christopher Marlowe Poet and Spy''. Oxford University Press, 2005. * Kuriyama, Constance. ''Christopher Marlowe: A Renaissance Life''. Cornell University Press, 2002. * Logan, Robert A. ''Shakespeare's Marlowe: The Influence of Christopher Marlowe on Shakespeare's Artistry''. Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate, 2007. * Logan, Terence P., and Denzell S. Smith, eds. ''The Predecessors of Shakespeare: A Survey and Bibliography of Recent Studies in English Renaissance Drama.'' Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1973. * Marlowe, Christopher. ''Complete Works''. Vol. 3: ''Edward II.'', ed. R. Rowland. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. (pp. xxii–xxiii) * Nicholl, Charles. ''The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe'', Vintage, 2002 (revised edition). * Oz, Avraham, ed. ''Marlowe''. New Casebooks. Houndmills, Basingstoke and London: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2003. * Parker, John. ''The Aesthetics of Antichrist: From Christian Drama to Christopher Marlowe''. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007. * Riggs, David. ''The World of Christopher Marlowe'', Henry Holt and Co., 2005. * Shepard, Alan. ''Marlowe's Soldiers: Rhetorics of Masculinity in the Age of the Armada'', Ashgate, 2002. * Sim, James H. ''Dramatic Uses of Biblical Allusions in Marlowe and Shakespeare'', Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1966. * Trow, M. J., and Taliesin Trow. ''Who Killed Kit Marlowe?: a contract to murder in Elizabethan England'', Stroud: Sutton, 2002. * Wraight A. D.; Stern, Virginia F. ''In Search of Christopher Marlowe: A Pictorial Biography'', London: Macdonald, 1965.
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