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The Life and Works of Christopher Marlowe

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“There is a lust of power in his writings, a hunger and thirst after righteousness, a glow of the imagination, unhallowed by anything but its own energies. His thoughts burn within him like a furnace with bickering flames, or throwing out black smoke and mists, that hide the dawn of genius, or like a poisonous mineral, corrode the heart” (O’Neill 17). William Hazlitt writes this critique on Christopher Marlowe as a playwright in his Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth and honestly he could not have said it any better. Christopher Marlowe was a brilliant man who excelled in school. He was a gifted individual and with the help of schooling became a famous playwright in the 16th century. He was roughly two months older than William Shakespeare and has been identified as the most important of Shakespeare’s predecessors.

Christopher Marlowe was known by several different names in all of his records. The names varied from Marlow to Merling and interestingly enough, there is no record of his name being spelled 'Christopher Marlowe'. After much searching, researchers were only to find one signature of his, which reads Cristofer Marley. Christopher was baptized February 26, 1564 in Canterbury and was born to John and Catherine Marlowe. He had one sister and three brothers that died at young ages but he did have four sisters who lived to grow up. Their names were Margaret, Joan, An, and Daretye [Dorothy]. All of these girls married young Canterbury tradesmen.“His family’s rank was humble, a fact occasionally flung in his teeth by envious rivals in the days of his theatrical success in London a few years later; but the life of a master craftsman’s household, though unpretentious, was not uncomfortable” (Bakeless...

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... that intelligence, not just money, can get you wherever you want in life. And although his life ended way before his time, he wrote four very successful plays and many poems that brought him riches and popularity.

Works Cited

Bakeless, John. Christopher Marlowe; the Man in His Time. New York: Washington Square,

1964. Print.

Boas, Frederick S. Christopher Marlowe: a Biographical and Critical Study.

Oxford: Clarendon, 1966. Print.

Hotson, Leslie. The Death of Christopher Marlowe. New York: Haskell House, 1965. Print.

Kocher, Paul Harold. Christopher Marlowe: a Study of His Thought, Learning, and Character.

New York: Russell & Russell, 1962. Print.

Marlowe, Christopher. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Ed. Frederick S. Boas. New

York: Gordian, 1966. Print.

O'Neill, Judith, ed. Critics on Marlowe. Coral Gables: University of Miami, 1970. Print.
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