AD's English Literature : English Playwright and Poet, Christopher Marlowe’s Contribution to English Drama

English Playwright and Poet, Christopher Marlowe’s Contribution to English Drama

Christopher Marlowe made momentous and revolutionary contributions to English drama. The first great English dramatist and the most important Elizabethan dramatist before William Shakespeare,   Marlowe worked on tragedy and advanced it considerably as a dramatic medium: Read More Drama 

[A]He created genuine blank verse and firmly established it as the most appropriate medium of poetic drama.
[B]He founded English romantic tragedy.
[C]He wrote the first great English history play.

Literary historian   describes Marlowe’s achievement in all worthy words. Truly so, Marlowe raised the subject matter of English drama to a higher level. He dealt with heroic subject that had a stirring effect on the imagination. Read More Drama  His heroes were Tamburlaine, a world conqueror (Tamburlaine the Great); Faustus, a scholar seeking supreme knowledge(The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus); Barabas, dreaming of figures on the stage enlarged, in men’s minds, the bounds of the possible (The Jew of Malta)

These three plays were a paean to the infinity of military power, of knowledge, and of wealth. The subject Marlowe borrowed, the heroes he moulded, were no more than his mouthpiece, voicing his exorbitant dreams. Read More Elizabethan Literature Like him they sought the infinite and like him were never sated. Marlowe is regarded as a rebel and a pioneer. He raised the standard of revolt against the convention of writing plays in rhyme and against the “clown age” of popular comedy. Read More Drama  He seized upon blank verse as the ideal medium for drama which was introduced into England by the Earl of Surrey. By revealing the possibilities for strength and variety of expression in blank verse, Marlowe helped to establish the verse form as the predominant form in English drama. 

He was the founder of genuine romantic tragedy, as regards both plot and character. Before him, the characters in plays had too often been mere lifeless puppets. Read More Drama Marlowe informed his central characters and the whole of his dialogue with life and passion. He was an admirer of Machiavelli whose ideal, as understood by that age, was the superman was, having decided what his goal is to be, and presses on to it regardless of scruples of conscience. 

In each of his dramas one forceful protagonist with a single overriding passion dominates. In fact, Each of Marlowe's important plays have as a central character a passionate man doomed to destruction by an inordinate desire for power. Read More Elizabethan Literature  The plays are further characterized by beautiful, sonorous language and emotional vitality, which is, however, at times unrestrained to the point of bombast. Such is the here of both parts of Tamburiaine, who seeks to conquer the world, trampling humanity mercilessly beneath him in his resistless course. Such is Faustus, whose ideal is boundless and lawless knowledge for the sake of universal power; such in Barabas, The Jew of Malta, reveling first in his prodigious wealth and then in the very ecstasy of revenge on those who had deprived him of it; such are Mortimer, in Edward II, and Guise in the Massacre at Paris, both monsters of unscrupulous ambition and resolution.

Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert      
2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature

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