This is the second of three articles written about the last days of Christopher Marlowe:
1. Thomas Kyd's Arrest
3. Christopher Marlowe's Death
On 20 May 1593, the famous playwright Christopher Marlowe appeared before the Privy Council to answer to the charges of heresy.
As I wrote recently, Marlowe’s flatmate and the fellow playwright Thomas Kyd had been arrested on the suspicion of writing posts around London which the authorities considered heresy.
The theatres were closed. If Marlowe, as London's greatest playwright, disturbed the peace between the theatres and Queen Elizabeth, she might just decide to close the theatres permanently.
She had allowed them to flower and develop, and had allowed playhouses like The Theatre to be built, the first theatre built for plays in England since the Roman times.
Shakespeare wouldn’t want to stop being a playwright. He belonged in a theatre. To him, very little else mattered.
Theatre in England had just been born, and Shakespeare would have pleaded with Marlowe not to kill it in it's infancy.
I think Shakespeare's words would have fallen on deaf ears.
I think Marlowe would have mentioned Venus and Adonis, which I'm sure he would have read immediately, and probably made fun of Shakespeare for having written Elizabethan mommy porn.
I think that Marlowe would have antagonized Shakespeare. Marlowe may have known that Shakespeare was likely to eclipse his own fame and success, so he would have asked if Shakespeare thought he was better than him.
Shakespeare would have said no, of course. He would have politely told him that he, Marlowe, was the greater and more significant artist.
Then he would have told Shakespeare to go stuff it.
Whether it was on 18 or 19 May, or shortly after, the last words between Shakespeare and Marlowe would probably not have been very kind.
|Shakespeare and Marlowe|
Were they the best of friends and worst of enemies?
Shakespeare would have been even more worried after seeing Marlowe.
David B. Schajer
Ferdinando Stanley and the Chandos Portrait of Shakespeare
Hamlet and the Massacre at Paris
Fifty Shades of Shakespeare
|BUY NOW from iTunes|