By Stevie Simkin
Christopher Marlowe's 4 significant performs are bold explorations of issues comparable to the character of kingship, salvation and damnation, sexuality, and ethnic prejudice. This booklet hyperlinks in-depth discussions of extracts from those significant to augment our realizing of Marlowe's subject matters, sort, and importance within the evolution of Elizabethan drama.
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Additional resources for Marlowe: the Plays (Analysing Texts)
This is a king who, far from having mastery of the ‘high astounding terms’ the prologue has promised us, finds himself unable to muster the ‘great and thund’ring speech’ required of him. Instead, he orders Cosroe to speak for him, an abdication that is symptomatic of his feeble nature. 30 Analysing Marlowe’s Plays Mycetes’s opening speech is in halting, broken sentences, petering out into a meek deferral to Cosroe. Mycetes’s weakness is signalled by his inability to construct anything substantial in his address to the court.
Studying in minute detail the columns of his accounts. Faustus is in raptures over the symbols of the necromantic spells; Barabas over the entries in his book which detail his latest material acquisitions. The parallels between the two plays can be taken further. Faustus hun- Openings and Entrances 39 grily attacks every field of human knowledge and, disappointed at how little they seem to offer, proceeds to reject each one systematically. Barabas begins with a slow, prosaic reckoning of his latest profits (1–3); the lines are surprisingly naturalistic, and it is easy to imagine Barabas checking the columns of his accounts as he speaks them: ‘thus much that return .
The impact is enhanced by a neat device: the dead rulers themselves tell their histories to the poet, who has been led by the allegorical figure Sorrow into the land of the dead. The stories they tell are cautionary tales for those rulers who are wise enough to heed them. The prologue to Tamburlaine I ends with a kind of appeal to the audience, although its tone retains a proud, combative tone: ‘applaud his fortunes as you please’ (8). It appears that the audiences were pleased with what they saw; within a few months, Marlowe had been inspired (presumably by the Elizabethan equivalent of good box office receipts) to write Tamburlaine II, which opens with an acknowledgement of the first part’s success: The general welcome Tamburlaine received When he arrivèd last upon our stage Hath made our poet pen his second part, Where death cuts off the progress of his pomp And murd’rous Fates throws all his triumphs down.