Christopher Marlow's life and work

Essay by dohaoneUniversity, Bachelor's December 2002

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Christopher Marlowe has been identified as the most important of Shakesphere's predecessors. "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" remains the most celebrated and most often anthologized of Marlowe's plays. Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury, England, on February 6, 1564. Marlow is the eldest son of John Marlowe a Shoemakers Guld and Katherine Arthur, a Dover girl of yeoman stock. Christopher Marlowe was baptized at St. George's Church, Canterbury on February 26, 1564. Christopher's intermediate and extended family had a reputation of getting into quarrels and trouble with the law. For example, his sister was known for being a selfish person seeking the unjust vexation of her neighbors. His father was continually engaged in lawsuits, most of the time as a defendant for debt. Christopher Marlowe entered the King's School, Canterbury, at the New Year, 1579. He was elected a Queen's Scholar. The school, which enjoyed a brillant reputation, was a center of theatrical interests.

The school contained a large library filled with a number of volumes which have been claimed as sources for Marlow's plays. There Marlowe uncritically read medieval romances, which contained enough bloodshed and rapine for any adolescent.

After two years, in December 1580, Marlowe moved to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he studied for the next six years. He received a scholarship founded by Mathew Parker, master of the college from 1544 to 1553 and later archbishop of Cnterbury. The scholarship was for six years and was granted more or less on the understanding that those holding it should study for church. Marlowe's acedemic career was uneventful, except for mysterious and increasingly long absences after his second year. Marlowe was absent from college for weeks even months at a time. It is now assumed that in some of these periods he ws involved in yet undiclosed...