The Elizabethan drama refers to different plays that were produced from 1558 to 1603 while Queen Elizabeth reigned in England (Berber 165). Elizabethan drama did not concentrate only religious themes. It also concentrated on secular issues. Berber points out that this diversity has since led to more public turn out for the events which has enabled the opening of several playhouses and “the most famous Globe Theater in 1599” (Berber 165). Although Shakespeare was the most prolific of the Elizabethan dramatists Christopher Marlowe was also among the play writers during the period (Berber 165). This write up examines the biography of Christopher Marlowe including the basic information about his life, define the characteristics of his work, and influence or lasting importance the work produced.

Biography of Christopher Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury on 6th February, 1564 the same year he attribute William Shakespeare was born. She further added that although Marlowe’s father was only a shoemaker, “this did not deter Marlowe from education” (Ross 1). Marlowe attended school at King’s School where he was awarded a scholarship to Corpus Christi College Cambridge where he studied philosophy, history and theology. In the course of his studies, Marlowe disappeared from the University leading to various speculations that he may have been recruited as government spy (Ross 1). Marlowe was denied admission by Cambridge University for his Master of Arts degree due to “suspected Catholic sympathies” (Ross 1). However, he was later offered the chance after the intervention of the Queen’s Privy Council.

The first great dramatist and poet Marlowe joined the Lord Admiral’s Company in London as an actor and playwright in1587 (Berber 167). It is while at this company that Marlowe met literary figures like Sir Phillip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh. It was at this point that he wrote one of his great plays; Tamburlaine the Great. Marlowe’s other dramas includes; “Dr. Faustus, and the Jew of Malta and Edward II” (Berber 169). Marlowe had also written long poem; Hero and Leander and the Passionate Shepherd of His Love. He diversified his work to “cover both tragedies and the historical related dramas” (Ross 4).

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Concerning his personality, Christopher Marlowe was a quick tempered man who was quick to get angered and quick to make enemies (Ross 4). Ross seemed to have believed that this could be the reason why Marlowe had spent two weeks in Newgate Goal jail in 1589 after he had been charged with murder case. Marlowe’s sexual orientation, his religious counter and political concern were widely speculative. This leads to Catholic and Protestant upheaval resulting to Marlowe’s charges of atheism, blasphemy and subversion (Ross 4).

Additionally, Marlowe was adversely suspected to be a heresy and this could have lead to his death in 1593 at the age of twenty nine. He was also stabbed in Deptford over what was seen as a quarrel over the dinner bill but was later believed as deliberated murder connected to his work as secret government agent (Berber 181).

Characteristics and Importance of Christopher Marlowe’s Work

Marlowe’s playwriting career which lasted for not more than six years had diverse and splendid achievements. By Marlowe’s playwright concentrating on tragedy and history aspects, it pointed out the necessity to individual responsibility (Ross 5). Christopher Marlowe deployed great writing methodology in his playwright and “was of much significance in the society" (Honan 87). Marlowe’s writing skills not only impacted on the entertainment arena but it also influenced peoples’ attitude on freedom of expression, occupational conduct and individual’s pasts (Honan 87).

The importance of Marlowe’s work style is widely imitated by most of the world best poets like; “Nashe, Kyd, Ben Johnson, and William Shakespeare” (Honan 89). This shows that Marlowe’s writing skill had great contributions in the education sector especially in the field of literature. A part from this, Marlowe has also contributed significantly to the development of English drama and language arts. Even though Marlowe’s moral conduct was questionable, his role in the society as playwright has had immense contribution (Ross 6). He notes that today’s drama skills are mainly based on the outline work done by famous Elizabethan dramatis including Marlowe.


This write up has proved that Christopher Marlowe and other Elizabethan dramatists have immensely contributed not only to the field of arts but also in other sectors like education. The works of such poets have continued to shape the career of the up-coming drama players. These dramatists had very enthusiastic writing skills that the world will continue to admire and use. 

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