Creator: Christopher Marlowe

"All they that love not tobacco and boys are 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 (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.

Marlowe's death in what was considered a Bar Bawl 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 Conspiracy Theory 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...William Shakespeare. One person who believes this is Jim Jarmusch, he even made a movie around it.

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: