Come, let us march against the powers of heaven, And set black streamers in the firmament, To signify the slaughter of the gods.Christopher Marlowe
—Tamburlaine the Great
(1564 - 1593) was an English poet, dramatist, and translator. He is probably best known for 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 William Shakespeare
(who was beginning his own rise to fame when Marlowe died, and whose works contain many Shout Outs
to Marlowe). Staid, respectable people
, however, regarded him as a contentious brawler
and 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 questioned about Marlowe's opinions and associates.
As a Historical-Domain Character
, 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:
Other works by Christopher Marlowe provide examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Zenocrete in Tamburlaine.
- Ambition Is Evil: 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"
- Ass Shove: The end of Edward II with a branding iron.
- The Beard: Isabella from Edward II
- Black and Gray Morality: The Jew of Malta
- Break the Haughty: The Villain Protagonist by the third act of any Christopher Marlowe play. (Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus, etc.)
- Byronic Hero: Doctor Faustus, Tamburlaine
- Bury Your Gays: Edward II and Mycetes of Tamburlaine
- The Caligula: Tamburlaine as the story progresses.
- Camp Gay: Edward II, also King Mycetes in Tamburlaine.
- Come to Gawk: Happens to Bajazeth in Tamburlaine
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Edward II
- Deadly Decadent Court: in Edward II
- The Determinator: Tamburlaine
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The Jew of Malta has the flashy Magnificent Bastard Villain Protagonist that is the coolest character in the show and wins at absolutely everything, but then gets boiled alive in the last five minutes as if to say see "we aren't supposed to root for them."
- Driven to Suicide: Bajazeth in Tamburlaine
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Edward II. Yes he's gay but he's still the King, dammit! That flies about as well as you might imagine in medieval Europe.
- The Epic: Tamburlaine
- From Nobody to Nightmare: "Tamburlaine? He's just a sheep herder..."
- Greedy Jew: The Jew of Malta
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Because of Values Dissonance and the fact that he's very entertaining in his evil schemes the audience may end up rooting for The Jew of Malta.
- Historical-Domain Character: Niccolò Machiavelli delivers the prologue to The Jew of Malta. It is as awesome as it sounds.
- Although it wasn't intended to be awesome. Given the opinion of the time period about Machiavelli, invoking him is basically waving a big red flag saying "This story's about an evil guy!"
- Uncertain. Anyone who had actually read Machiavelli would know that Barabas is absolutely NOT a follower of his... and his enemy Governor Ferneze arguably is. Many modern productions have Ferneze and Machiavelli played by the same actor.
- Karmic Death: How any Marlowe protagonist meets his end.
- The Killer Becomes the Killed: Lightborne immediately after killing the king is killed by the other conspirators to keep his silence.
- Leave No Survivors: When one kingdom sends in their maidens pleading that Tamburlaine have mercy on them his response is essentially 'you should have surrendered when I gave you the chance.'
- Lover and Beloved: Zeus and Ganymede in Dido, Queen of Carthage.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Lightborne from Edward II.
- Parental Relationship Veto: Edward II As soon as his dad is dead he gets together with Gaveston.
- Pride Before a Fall: The Villain Protagonist by the third act of any Christopher Marlowe play. (Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus, etc.)
- Professional Killer: Lightborne in Edward II
- Puppet King: In Edward II the other members of the Deadly Decadent Court fear Gaveston's influence on the king.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Jew of Malta.
- Royal Brat: Edward II.
- Self-Made Man: Tamburlaine. Sheep-herder turned world conqueror.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Zenocrete in Tamburlaine.
- Take Over the World: Tamburlaine.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: In The Jew of Malta the protagonist gets cheated out of his fortune by those in power who hold the attitude that Jews are greedy and evil, oh and by the way make more money so we can cheat you out of it again. This is his Start of Darkness because he decides if he's going to be considered wicked no matter what he does he might as well show them true villainy.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Edward II and Tamburlaine
- Villain Protagonist: The Jew of Malta, Tamburlaine.
- Yaoi Fanboy: He shipped 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 Zeus and Ganymede, though that was already shipped for him.
- 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 lover Mortimer Jr., to have Gaveston done away with.
- Yaoi Guys: Edward II with Gaveston
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Tamburlaine Tamburlaine does this to the conspirators when he takes the Persian crown. Also Lightborne in Edward II.
- You Killed My Father: Tamburlaine
- Young Conqueror: Tamburlaine