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Christopher Marlowe

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Christopher Marlowe was baptized on 26th February 1564 in Canterbury, England. His exact date of birth is unknown. He was a poet, dramatist and translator of the Elizabethan Era in fact he was the first Elizabethan tragedian. He studied at ‘The King’s School’ and then got a scholarship to ‘Corpus Christi College’, Cambridge. He graduated with Bachelors in Arts in 1584. ‘Dido, Queen of Carthage’ was his first drama. It was acted on by a group of young actors known as ‘Children of the Chapel’ somewhere in between 1587 to 1593 although we know it was published in 1594.

His play ‘Tamburlaine the Great’ was performed on the stage in 1587 in London. This play was among the first of the ‘blank verse’ plays. It became an instant success. This was the only play published during his lifetime whereas all others were published posthumously. ‘The Jew of Malta’ was about a Jewish character who takes revenge on the city establishments. Christopher Marlowe wrote this play in 1589 or 1590 however we know for sure that the play was performed in 1592. It was very successful and remained popular for the next five decades. Its oldest edition to have been survived is one from 1633 even though it was put in the ‘Stationer’s Register’ in 1594. Marlowe’s play titled ‘Edward the Second’ was about King Edward and his removal by the Queen and Barons who disapprove of the extra influence of his favorite people in the court. This play was also put in the Stationer’s Register in 1593 which was almost a month after Marlowe died.

Christopher Marlowe’s work called ‘The Massacre at Paris’ is his shortest work. It shows the events that took place in 1572 on Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. ‘The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus’ is his fourth play which was based on ‘Faustbuch’ and how a scholar deals with the devil. This play was edited so much that scholars today find it hard to comment on it. There are versions of the play available; one dates back to 1604 known as A Text and the other is from 1616 known as B text. Scholars believe that the A text seems more like the work of Marlowe because of the irregular characters and the particular spellings.

Christopher Marlowe was known to be a government spy as speculated by many scholars based on several evidences found in his life. There were many discrepancies in his record. It is often assumed that he was the ‘Morley’ who was to teach ‘Arbella Stuart’ (an English Renaissance noblewoman) as there was no person by this name with an MA. There are several stories about Marlowe’s death. Some say that he was stabbed to death due to his rivalry over a woman; others say that he was in a drunken fight. The official account however is that on 30th May 1593, he was in an argument over a bill with Ingram Frizer (a gentleman and a businessman). Marlowe hit him on the head and Frizer retaliated by stabbing him above the eye killing him right away. Marlowe was only 29 years old at the time. He was a well-regarded and prominent personality among contemporary writers and he has contributed immensely to the literary world.

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