[[caption-width-right:300:"All they that love not [[GoodSmokingEvilSmoking tobacco]] and [[HoYay boys]] are [[CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority fools]]."]]

->''Come, let us march against the powers of heaven,''\\
''And set black streamers in the firmament,''\\
''To signify the slaughter of the gods.''
-->--'''''Tamburlaine the Great'''''

'''Christopher Marlowe''' (baptised February 26, 1564 – May 30, 1593) was an English poet, dramatist, and translator. He is probably best known for ''[[Theatre/DoctorFaustus The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus]]'', ''The Jew of Malta'', and ''Tamburlaine''. He was one of the first to write English drama in blank verse.

He was regarded highly, at least in terms of his writing, by his literary contemporaries, including Creator/WilliamShakespeare (who was beginning his own rise to fame when Marlowe died, and whose works contain many {{Shout Out}}s to Marlowe). [[MoralGuardians Staid, respectable people]], however, regarded him as a [[JerkAss contentious brawler]] and [[BombThrowingAnarchist a dangerous rebel against society]]. Which seems to have been exactly the reputation Marlowe was going for. By all accounts he was one of those over-clever young men who get a charge out of shocking their elders and social superiors. In his case it may have come back to bite him. It certainly bit his friend and roommate Thomas Kyd who probably died of the trauma he suffered when [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique questioned]] about Marlowe's opinions and associates.

Marlowe's death in what was considered a Bar Brawl at Deptford was long the source of suspicion and rumor. In the 20th Century, a researcher discovered the original coroner's report and while he dismissed foul play, he did note that Marlowe spent his final day in the company of known underworld types linked to Thomas Walsingham, a relative of Queen Elizabeth's hatchet-man Sir Francis Walsingham. This has fed much ConspiracyTheory about Marlowe and the circumstances of his death. There are still others who argue that Marlowe faked his death and continued writing under the pseudonym of... Creator/WilliamShakespeare. This is far from being the most popular theory even among aficionados of the Shakespearean authorship theory.

In any case, while Marlowe did influence Shakespeare, there are enough differences between their plays to give pause to any claims of continuity. For one thing, Shakespeare was quite good at writing women characters whereas Marlowe's work is very much a boy's club with only ''Dido, Queen of Carthage'' counting as a prominent female role in his plays. In Marlowe's case this might have been an InvokedTrope since only men were allowed to act in his day, so he might have dialled down the female presence in his works for greater theatrical realism. However, this still means that Shakespeare went out of his way, to deliberately write characters who were feminine. Where Shakespeare mixed comedy with tragedy, and put in supporting characters with a lot of humour in his plays, Marlowe's works are far more unified and even in tone and generally lack Shakespeare's comic skill. The main point in common of course is the characterization of the anti-heroic and anti-villainous protagonists, with schemers and manipulators and elaborate revenge schemes, but this in the case of both Marlowe and Shakespeare is not original to them. It comes from Thomas Kyd's ''The Spanish Tragedy'' which was the TropeMaker and TropeCodifier for the Elizabethan Tragedy and the first popular success of the GoldenAge of English drama.

As a HistoricalDomainCharacter, his appearances in fiction almost invariably feature one or both of (a) his acquaintance with Shakespeare; (b) his death. (Which was somewhat suspicious, and has prompted theories that it was a set-up by the English secret service, either to keep him from spilling some secret or, more creatively, to allow him to adopt a new identity and go into hiding. People who promote the creative version are generally advocates of the theory that Marlowe was the true author of Shakespeare's plays, even the ones written after 1593, or else historical fiction writers who don't care whether it's true because it makes a good story.)

!!Works by Christopher Marlowe with their own trope pages include:
* ''Theatre/DoctorFaustus''
!!Other works by Christopher Marlowe provide examples of:
* AdaptationalHeroism: Marlowe gives this to Dido, adapted from Literature/TheAeneid
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Zenocrete in ''Tamburlaine''.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Not at all ambiguous in ''Edward II'' where Edward and Gaveston are, even with all the euphemisms, plainly lovers. Likewise, there's Jupiter and Ganymede in ''Dido, Queen of Carthage''. Marlowe is generally regarded today as a gay artist.
* AmbitionIsEvil: ''The Jew of Malta'', ''Tamburlaine''. The only way to get anywhere in the world is to murder your way to the top.
* {{Arcadia}}: "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love"
* AssShove: [[spoiler: The end of ''Edward II'' [[CruelAndUnusualDeath with a branding iron.]]]]
* TheBeard: Isabella from ''Edward II''
* BreakTheHaughty: The VillainProtagonist by the third act of any Christopher Marlowe play. (''Tamburlaine'', ''The Jew of Malta'', ''Theatre/DoctorFaustus'', etc.)
* ByronicHero: Doctor Faustus, Tamburlaine, Barabbas. Indeed, had it not been for Lord Byron, this might well have been called the Marlowean Hero.
* BuryYourGays: [[spoiler: Edward II and Mycetes of Tamburlaine]]
* TheCaligula: Tamburlaine as the story progresses.
* CampGay: Edward II, also King Mycetes in ''Tamburlaine.''
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Happens all the time in Marlowe's plays where his characters routinely conspire and betray each other. ''Edward II'' and ''The Jew of Malta'' is especially bad because even the supposed good characters stab each other in the back by the end. The total lack of trust and absence of comic relief at times, makes Marlowe's plays a bleaker read than Shakespeare's.
* CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority: All of Marlowe's hero-villains are rebels against some authority (religious and secular) and all of them are pretty cool, with the best dialogues and richest motivation.
* ComeToGawk: Happens to [[spoiler:Bajazeth]] in ''Tamburlaine''
* CreateYourOwnVillain: Marlowe's ''The Jew of Malta'' while not free of the anti-semitism of its premise at the very least has a Jewish VillainProtagonist (where ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice'' has a Jewish BigBad and supporting character). Barrabas also makes it clear that his actions are inspired by racism and oppression at the hands of Christians and Muslims.
--> '''Barabbas''': Why, I esteem the injury far less,\\
To take the lives of miserable men\\
Than be the causers of their misery.\\
You have my wealth, the labour of my life,\\
The comfort of mine age, my children's hope;\\
And therefore ne'er distinguish of the wrong.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: ''Edward II''
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: in ''Edward II''
* TheDeterminator: Tamburlaine
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: ''The Jew of Malta'' has the flashy MagnificentBastard VillainProtagonist that is the [[EvilIsCool coolest character in the show and wins at absolutely everything]], but then gets [[spoiler:boiled alive]] in the last five minutes as if to say that "we aren't supposed to root for them" was invoked. Some argue that this is because of the censorship at the time and that Marlowe's intention is that Barabas and Dr. Faustus for that matter is totally rad.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Bajazeth]] in ''Tamburlaine''
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Edward II. Yes he's gay but he's still the King, dammit! That flies about as well as you might imagine in [[MedievalMorons medieval Europe.]]
* TheEpic: ''Tamburlaine''
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Mortimer at the end of ''Edward II'':
--> '''Mortimer''': Base Fortune, now I see, that in thy wheel\\
There is a point, to which when men aspire, \\
They tumble headlong down: that point I touch’d, \\
And, seeing there was no place to mount up higher, \\
Why should I grieve at my declining fall?—\\
Farewell, fair queen; weep not for Mortimer,\\
That scorns the world, and, as a traveller,\\
Goes to discover countries yet unknown. [[note]]This comparison of death to a traveller to discover countries yet unknown is similar to Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'s famous soliloquy describing death as "the undiscovered country" from which "no traveller returns". It was likely an intentional ShoutOut to Marlowe[[/note]]
** Edward II also insists on facing death with dignity but he's been horribly treated (imprisoned in a cell where the castle's privy shaft offloads toilet-water with shit and urine into the room) and Lightborn intends to brutally torture him to death, that his agony is prolonged, painful and humiliating what with the AssShove.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: "Tamburlaine? He's just a sheep herder..."
* GambitPileup: Edward II is so densely plotted with many gambits and factions that it's amazing the story works on the whole.
* GrayAndGreyMorality: All over the place in Marlowe's plays where there are almost no purely good characters anywhere. One reason that ''The Jew of Malta'' is less racist than ''The Merchant of Venice'' is that the Christian characters are just as corrupt and venal as the hero (whereas Shakespeare says that the quality of Christianity is "mercy") and as Barabas points out above, they are ''worse'', because they created him and act like hypocrites while AtLeastIAdmitIt.
* GreedyJew: ''The Jew of Malta'' but as Barabas points out, he is what [[SocietyIsToBlame the Christians made them]].
* HeroicComedicSociopath: Because of ValuesDissonance and the fact that he's [[AffablyEvil very entertaining in his evil schemes]] the audience may end up [[RootingForTheEmpire rooting for]] [[VillainProtagonist The Jew of Malta.]]
** Doctor Faustus can likewise be [[ComedicSociopathy cruel and funny.]]
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Creator/NiccoloMachiavelli delivers the prologue to ''The Jew of Malta'', he makes pithy comments on how "I consider religion a childish toy." which fits with the Elizabethan perception of the Florentine. ''Edward II'' is also a historical play.
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade: Edward II is considered by historians to be a very weak king and ruler, so much so that Marlowe's play is considered the most sympathetic portrayal of the character in both fiction and history. In the play, Edward II heroically supports his lower-class lover over a corrupt nobility that seeks to keep them apart, who refuse any compromise and whose death is stomach churning and painful.
* HyperlinkStory: His ''Edward II'' comes very close to this. Despite the title, Edward II is not really the central hero, and he has equal presence with Mortimer, with Isabella, with Kent and others. A lot of the decisive actions and best lines are done by one-scene characters like Lightborn, and Gaveston despite casting a good impression dies midway through the story.
* JerkAssGods: Jupiter and Hera in ''Dido, Queen of Carthage'', even Venus is hardly friendly with Aeneas, while Jupiter is described to be molesting Ganymede.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: How any Marlowe [[VillainProtagonist protagonist]] meets his end, except for Edward II.]]
* TheKillerBecomesTheKilled: [[spoiler: Lightborne immediately after killing the king is killed by the other conspirators [[HeKnowsTooMuch to keep his silence.]]]]
* LeaveNoSurvivors: When one kingdom sends in their maidens pleading that Tamburlaine have mercy on them his response is essentially '[[KickTheDog you should have surrendered when I gave you the chance.]]'
* LoverAndBeloved: Zeus and Ganymede in ''Dido, Queen of Carthage''. Edward II and Piers Gaveston in ''Edward II''.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: [[LouisCypher Lightborne]] from ''Edward II''.
* [[ParentalMarriageVeto Parental Relationship Veto]]: ''Edward II''. As soon as his dad is dead he gets together with Gaveston.
* PrideBeforeAFall: The VillainProtagonist by the third act of any Christopher Marlowe play. (''Tamburlaine'', ''The Jew of Malta'', ''Theatre/DoctorFaustus'', etc.)
* ProfessionalKiller: Lightborne in ''Edward II''
* PuppetKing: In ''Edward II'' the other members of the DeadlyDecadentCourt fear [[EvilChancellor Gaveston's influence]] on the king.
* ReligionIsWrong: Marlowe was labelled an atheist in the Elizabethan Age. But this was done by [[UnreliableNarrator his enemies]] and atheism did not have the same sense as it would to a modern audience. In any case, mocking Catholicism, Islam and Judaism was AcceptableTargets for the Protestant English and Marlowe sticks to the party line in that regard. Nevertheless, Marlowe's plays are ambivalent about religion.
** ''Dido, Queen of Carthage'' has the Roman Gods as JerkAssGods but then this is very much in keeping with the source material.
** ''Tamburlaine'' declares himself the Scourge of God and sets fire on the Koran and basically has a philosophy akin to a proto-{{ubermensch}} who cannot be stopped by any force until his death.
** ''Dr. Faustus'' has Mephistopheles and Hell, but Faustus begins the drama by rejecting religion and Mephistopheles implies that hell and damnation means something different from how Christianity has concieved it.
** ''Edward II'' has the King and Piers Gaveston humiliate the Catholic Archbishop for opposing Gaveston's presence and has the King mocking the Church, which probably went down very well with the Protestant prejudices of his time.
** ''The Jew of Malta'' has Christians, Muslims and Jews as characters and all of them are shown to be equally selfish, two-timing and corrupt, with the Christians triumphing over Barabas and the Turk by being more backstabbing and ruthless than both of them. As Machiavelli outlines in the prologue:
--> '''Machiavel''': I count religion but a childish toy\\
And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: ''The Jew of Malta''.
* RoyalBrat: ''Edward II''. His son "Edward III" is a rare positive version since he uses his authority to drive away usurpers and treacherous courtiers.
* SacredHospitality: The violation of this by a conspirator of Edward II is a crucial plot in the play.
* SelfMadeMan: Tamburlaine. Sheep-herder turned world conqueror.
* StarcrossedLovers: Edward II and Gaveston, Dido and Aeneas.
* StockholmSyndrome: Zenocrete in ''Tamburlaine''.
* TakeOverTheWorld: ''Tamburlaine''.
* ThenLetMeBeEvil: In ''The Jew of Malta'' the protagonist gets cheated out of his fortune by those in power who hold the attitude that [[GreedyJew Jews are greedy and evil]], [[{{Hypocrite}} oh and by the way make more money so we can cheat you out of it again.]] This is his StartOfDarkness because he decides if he's going to be considered wicked no matter what he does he might as well show them true villainy and give them something to really complain about.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: ''Edward II'' and ''Tamburlaine''
* VillainProtagonist: ''The Jew of Malta'', ''Tamburlaine''.
* [[YaoiFangirl Yaoi Fanboy]]: He shipped [[Literature/TheBible Jesus and John]]. Someone quoted, or paraphrased, him as saying that "John the baptist was bedfellow to Christ, and leaned alwaies in his bosom, and used him as the sinners of Sodoma." He is also supposed to have said that "Christ was a bastard and his mother dishonest [unchaste]" and that "the Angel Gabriel was bawd [pimp] to the Holy Ghost". Due to this he was accused of atheism (though it meant something more like "heresy" in those days) and blasphemy-serious charges-but died only days before his case was scheduled to be heard before the Privy Council, which some see as linking his murder with it.
** He also opened one play, ''Dido, Queen of Carthage'', with a love scene between [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Zeus and Ganymede]], though that was already shipped for him.
* WomanScorned: ''Dido, Queen of Carthage'' is a classical example.
* {{Yandere}}: Isabella in ''Edward II'' starts off insanely jealous of the affection Edward lavishes on Gaveston, which is one of the reasons she conspires with the nobles, in particular her [[{{hypocrite}} lover]] Mortimer Jr., to [[MurderTheHypotenuse have Gaveston done away with]].
* YaoiGuys: [[{{Uke}} Edward II]] with [[{{Seme}} Gaveston]]
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: In ''Tamburlaine'' [[spoiler: Tamburlaine does this to the conspirators when he takes the Persian crown.]] Also [[spoiler: Lightborne]] in ''Edward II''.
* YouKilledMyFather: ''Tamburlaine'' and ''Edward II'' where the young Prince avenges his father's death by conspirators[[note]]And probably greatly inspired Theatre/{{Hamlet}}[[/note]]
* YoungConqueror: ''Tamburlaine''

!! Marlowe in Fiction
* AffectionateNickname: "Kit" Marlowe is used by his friends in fictional stories, based on his real nickname. Incidentally this inspired the Creator/KitHarington's name as well.
* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: In historical stories, especially ShakespeareInFiction, its common to portray Shakespeare feeling that Marlowe was always better than him and that had he not died so young, he would be the great writer of his day. This is especially the case in ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'' and Creator/NeilGaiman's ''ComicBook/TheSandman''.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Or not really ambiguous in fictional stories, where his sexuality is emphasized.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: The available facts on Marlowe's life leave a great deal of room for the imagination, so fictional versions of Marlowe play loose with facts and often take rumors at face value.
* CloakAndDagger: Other historical stories feature Marlowe as [[NinjaPirateRobotZombie a gay atheist Elizabethan James Bond]], Peter Whelan's play ''The School of Night'' does this. Marlowe is believed to have been a spy and an associate of Walter Raleigh at any rate.
* ConspiracyTheory: On account of the overall mystery of his life and various authorship theories:
** ''Film/{{Anonymous}}'' portrays Marlowe as a friend of the Earl of Oxford (i.e. the candidate for the True-Shakespeare in this DanBrowned film of the Authorship Theory) and in the film he is killed by the true Shakespeare.
** ''Film/OnlyLoversLeftAlive'' has Marlowe as an immortal vampire who faked his death and continues into the 21st Century (where he's played by Creator/JohnHurt). Shakespeare is treated as a writer who Marlowe used as a front and who he resents for taking credit for his works. Why Marlowe felt the need to fake his death and use a front, and keep the secret is not clarified.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: He appears in ShakespeareInFiction and his dramatic death has also been portrayed in a series of novels, most notably Creator/AnthonyBurgess' ''A Dead Man in Deptford''.
* ICouldaBeenAContender: Fictional stories of Marlowe play up the poignance of his death, and how he had a chance to be as great and famous as Shakespeare had he not died. Shakespeare and Ben Jonson and others remember their old friend and mourn how he was TooCoolToLive. [[invoked]]
* TheMentor: There's no evidence that he was this to Shakespeare, though there are indications that he and Shakespeare collaborated on ''Theatre/HenryVI'' but Marlowe is often portrayed as the BigManOnCampus who gives advice to the provincial grammar school noob from Stratford who all the other university wits make fun of for his "little greek and latin".
** In Creator/NeilGaiman's ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', Marlowe looks at Shakespeare's early verse tells him its very bad and that he should probably not waste his time but he does it gently, and Shakespeare takes his [[CompassionateCritic compassionate criticism]] to heart and writes Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream to impress his hero and is disappointed that he died before seeing it.
** Rupert Everett plays Marlowe similarly in ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'' giving professional advice and some uncredited doctoring on ''Romeo and Juliet'' and then being killed by Shakespeare's nemesis in a case of PoorCommunicationKills. Marlowe's death wracks Shakespeare with guilt.