Christopher Marlowe biography

Christopher Marlowe

Playwright, Author

– 1593


Who was Christopher Marlowe?

Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. Marlowe was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day. He greatly influenced William Shakespeare, who was born in the same year as Marlowe and who rose to become the pre-eminent Elizabethan playwright after Marlowe's mysterious early death. Marlowe's plays are known for the use of blank verse, and their overreaching protagonists.

A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May 1593. No reason was given for it, though it was thought to be connected to allegations of blasphemy—a manuscript believed to have been written by Marlowe was said to contain "vile heretical conceipts". On 20 May he was brought to the court to attend upon the Privy Council for questioning. There is no record of their having met that day, however, and he was commanded to attend upon them each day thereafter until "licensed to the contrary." Ten days later, he was stabbed to death by Ingram Frizer. Whether the stabbing was connected to his arrest has never been resolved.

Famous Quotes:

  • Nature that framed us of four elements, warring within our breasts for regiment, doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.
  • Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Ileum?
  • O, thou art fairer than the evening air clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.
  • What are kings, when regiment is gone, but perfect shadows in a sunshine day?
  • Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscrib'd one self place; for where we are is Hell, and where Hell is, there must we ever be.
  • Is it not passing brave to be a King and ride in triumph through Persepolis?
  • Where both deliberate, the love is slight: Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?
  • You stars that reigned at my nativity, whose influence hath allotted death and hell.
  • I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but innocence.
  • Come live with me, and be my love, and we will all the pleasures prove.


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Also known as
  • Kit Marlowe
  • Marcarde
  • Kit
  • The Muses' Darling
  • Mercury
  • England
  • Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
  • University of Cambridge
  • The King's School, Canterbury
May 30, 1593

on July 23, 2013