Christopher Marlowe biography
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564, the same year as his great rival William Shakespeare. Though his father was only a shoemaker, Marlowe was educated at King's School and awarded a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. While at Corpus Christi he studied philosophy, history, and theology.
At this point Marlowe disappeared from university, and later speculation was that he was recruited by the government for espionage work. When he returned to Cambridge, Marlowe was refused his M.A. degree due to suspected Catholic sympathies, until the Queen's Privy Council intervened on his behalf.
In 1587 Marlowe left Cambridge again, this time for the life of a London playwright. His first major work, Tamburlaine the Great, was performed in that year.
Christopher Marlowe was a quick-tempered man, quick to anger and quick to make enemies. He spent two weeks in Newgate Gaol in 1589, charged with murder, though he was later acquitted. Although suspected of a variety of crimes ranging from heresy to homosexuality, it seems clear that Marlowe's unknown government connections kept him out of serious trouble.
Marlowe's dramatic career was only to span six short years. In that time he wrote The Jew of Malta, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, The Queen of Carthage, Edward II, and The Massacre at Paris. His work ranged from tragedy to historical drama, but he also wrote popular poetry such as Hero and Leander, and The Passionate Shepherd ("Come live with me and be my love; and we shall all the pleasures prove...").
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