Christopher Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564; died 30 May 1593) was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. Marlowe was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian until his mysterious early death. Marlowe greatly influenced William Shakespeare, who was born in the same year as Marlowe.
"So soon he profits in divinity,
The fruitful plot of scholarism grac'd,
That shortly he was grac'd with doctor's name,
Excelling all whose sweet delight disputes
In heavenly matters of theology;
Till swoln with cunning, of a self conceit,
His waxen wing did mount about his reach,
And, melting, heavens conspir'd his overthrow;"
"More significant is the heretofore fact that throughout the rose sections of the play, in the nature of the bits of magic which fill the middle portion, Faustus himself is unconsciously revealing the insidious influence of the visitation by the seven deadly sins: he illustrates the smallness of their preoccupations as he proceeds and, at the same time, their vices."
"The ironic lesson of Faustus' tragedy is clear enough, I suppose, but it is not clear to whom the lesson was addressed. Was it intended for the mass of Elizabethan theatergoers, who had neither the intellectual capacity nor the daring to emulate Faustus' career and who would, if at all, damn themselves in more conventional ways?"
There are many parallels in words, phrases and imagery between his work and that of Shakespeare, which, at the very least, indicate that Shakespeare learned his trade from him. Computers seem unable to differentiate between his work and that of Shakespeare.
There is argument among scholars concerning the order in which the plays subsequent to <i>Tamburlaine</i> were written. It is not uncommonly held that <i>Faustus</i> quickly followed <i>Tamburlaine</i> and that then Marlowe turned to a more neutral, more “social” kind of writing in <i>Edward II</i> and <i>The Massacre at Paris</i>. His last play may have been <i>The Jew of Malta</i>, in which he signally broke new ground.
Marlowe’s most famous play is <i>The Tragicall History of Dr. Faustus</i>; but it has survived only in a corrupt form, and its date of composition has been much-disputed. It was first published in 1604, and another version appeared in 1616. <i>Faustus</i> takes over the dramatic framework of the morality plays in its presentation of a story of temptation, fall, and damnation and its free use of morality figures such as the good angel and the bad angel and the seven deadly sins, along with the devils Lucifer and Mephistopheles.
The achievement of Christopher Marlowe, poet and dramatist, was enormous—surpassed only by that of his exact contemporary, Shakespeare. A few months the elder, Marlowe was usually the leader, although Shakespeare was able to bring his art to a higher perfection. Most dramatic poets of the sixteenth century followed where Marlowe had led, especially in their use of language and the blank-verse line.
On May 30, Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer. Frizer was with Nicholas Skeres and Robert Poley, and all three men were tied to one or other of the Walsinghams - either Sir Francis Walsingham (the man who evidently recruited Marlowe himself into secret service on behalf of the queen) or a relative also in the spy business. Allegedly, after spending the day together with Marlowe in a lodging house, a fight broke out between Marlowe and Frizer over the bill, and Marlowe was stabbed in the forehead and killed.
Marlowe, born two months before William Shakespeare, was the son of a Canterbury shoemaker. A bright student, he won scholarships to prestigious schools and earned his B.A. from Cambridge in 1584. He was nearly denied his master's degree in 1587, until advisers to Queen Elizabeth intervened, recommending he receive the degree, referring obliquely to his services for the state. Marlowe's activities as a spy for Queen Elizabeth were later documented by historians.
Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury around February 26, 1564 (this was the day on which he was baptized). He went to King's School and was awarded a scholarship that enabled him to study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, from late 1580 until 1587.