The life of Christopher Marlowe was filled with many questions as well as his death. Christopher Marlowe was a play writer and a poet during the same years of William Shakespeare. Some Scholars also believe that Marlowe may have influenced Shakespeare with his own writings. Although this is not for certain, but quite possible being that they both went to the same college. His plays were not properly documented and also were not properly chronologically ordered. Christopher Marlowe’s most notable plays are: Tamburlaine the Great, The Jew of Malta, Edward II, and Dr. Faustus. In his time of life it is seen that Marlowe was not very well liked by most but his writings were a foundation for many other poets and play writers to build upon.Order now
Marlowe was born in 1564 in the town of Canterbury. His father, being a shoemaker did not keep down in social status. He was recognized for his intelligence and went to King’s School. This was most likely a prestigious academy for what may be assumed as the school for the aristocrats during this time. After he finished school he was awarded a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he and Shakespeare attended. Furthermore, Shakespeare and Marlowe were born on the same here, so many consider the two somewhat of a rivalry. At Cambridge he studied theology, philosophy, and history. Marlowe later disappeared at this point in his life; at least from society. Cambridge records have him leaving school but there is theory that he was recruited by the government for espionage work.
Marlowe received his degree after academic years that included long, unexplained absences, only at the intervention of the Privy Council, on grounds of his unspecified “good service” to the nation. The privy council is a body of officials and dignitaries chosen by the British monarch as an advisory council to the Crown. More than likely, this “service” involved posing as a Roman Catholic. In Tudor England, religion and politics were one.
The country was in danger on one side by Catholics who had support from Spain and France, they were England’s two greatest enemies during the time, and pressured on the other side by Puritan extremists who viewed the official Church of England as too dangerously close to Roman Catholicism. Elizabeth’s advisers maintained an elaborate network of agents and couriers, to keep tabs on one another and on these heretical Puritans; more than one of Marlowe’s Cambridge classmates ended up martyred, a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion, or in exile.
Marlowe’s dramatic career was only to span six short years. In that time he wrote The Jew of Malta, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, The Queen of Carthage, Edward II, and The Massacre at Paris. His work ranged from tragedy to historical drama, but he also wrote popular poetry such as “Hero and Leander”, and “The Passionate Shepherd.” His great contribution to English theatre was the use of blank verse in writing his dramatic works and he was the first to use blank verse in drama. Blank verse is any verse comprised of unrhymed lines all in the same meter, usually iambic pentameter. It was developed in Italy and became widely used during the Renaissance because it resembled classical, unrhymed poetry. Marlowe’s demonstrated blank verse’s range and flexibility and made blank verse the standard for many English writers, including Shakespeare.
There is a big mystery of Marlowe’s death. Nobody truly knows the exact way he died but the most popular one is that he died in a tavern in the town of Deptford. He and his friend, Ingram Frizer, fought over paying the bill (my theory is that Ingram said a momma joke during the fight because soon after…) and soon after the fight Marlowe grabbed Ingram’s dagger and attacked him from behind. Frizer was able to grab get the dagger from Marlowe and stabbed him fatally in the eye. But the mystery of this whole death is that Marlowe may have in fact faked his death. One week before his “death,” Marlowe’s roommate was in fact kidnapped and tortured over assumptions that Marlowe may have been a heretic and an atheist.
A warrant was out for his arrest but he coincidently died. A reason for believing that the death was faked is that Marlowe’s friends on his final night had close connections to Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s spy. rumor has persisted that Marlowe’s death was faked on Walsingham’s orders, so that the Privy Council would obviously end pursuit of Marlowe. He was buried in an unknown grave that leads to further speculation that Marlowe may have still been alive.