Christopher Marlowe

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This is believed to be a portrait of Christopher Marlowe1

A Little Biography: This is a short biography meant to introduce you to Christopher Marlowe; it includes some facts about his life and a brief list of his written works. 

Christopher Marlowe: Poet, Playwright
(c. 1564–1593)

The son of a shoemaker, Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury, England around February 26, 1564 (the exact birth-date remains unknown; this was the day on which he was baptized). He received some of his early education at The King’s School and was awarded a scholarship that enabled him to study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge from late 1580 until 1587.2 In 1584 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  The terms of the scholarship Marlowe received allowed for three years of further study if the scholar in question intended to take holy orders. In 1587, after some trouble, he was awarded his master’s degree.In 1587 Christopher Marlowe moved to London, and for the next six years he wrote plays. 

On Sunday May 20, 1593, Christopher Marlowe was arrested for being an atheist. He was then released. Less than 2 weeks later, on May 30, Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer. Allegedly, after spending the day together with Marlowe in a lodging house, a fight broke out between Marlowe and Frizer over the bill, and Marlowe was stabbed in the forehead and killed.Speculation and conspiracy theories about his atheism and suspected spy activities surround his untimely death to this day.


1586 Dido, Queen of Carthage (possibly co-written with Thomas Nashe)
1587 Tamburlaine Part 1
1587-1588 Tamburlaine Part 2
1589 The Jew of Malta (first published as The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta) was first performed in 1592. It was a success and remained popular for the next fifty years. The play was entered in the Stationers’ Register on 17 May 1594, but the earliest surviving printed edition is from 1633.
1589-1593 Doctor Faustus (or The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus), is a textual problem for scholars as two versions of the play exist: the 1604 quarto, also known as the A text, and the 1616 quarto or B text. Both were published after Marlowe’s death.
1591 Arden of Faversham attributed Christopher Marlowe as the possible author or co-author.
1592 Henry VI, part 1,2, 3, recently attributed Christopher Marlowe as the co-author.
1593 Edward the Second entered into the Stationers’ Register on 6 July 1593, five weeks after Marlowe’s death. The full title of the earliest extant edition, of 1594, is The troublesome reigne and lamentable death of Edward the second, King of England, with the tragicall fall of proud Mortimer.
1593 The Massacre at Paris, the only surviving text of which was probably a reconstruction from memory of the original performance text, portraying the events of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572.

Other works:

1587 Epigrams of Sir John Davies and Certain of Ovid’s Elegies: translated by Christopher Marlowe
1598 Marlowe also wrote the poem Hero and Leander (published in 1598, and with a continuation by George Chapman the same year)
1599 “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”

1 The portrait was discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1952. The age of the sitter and date of the portrait could be Marlowe, who was born in  February 1564, and who attended the College between 1580 and 1587. The inscription reads ANNO DNI AETATIS SVAE 21 1585, one translation of which is “Aged 21 in 1585.” This is an excerpt from: “Identity Crisis? Times Article Casts Further Doubt on Marlowe as Sitter in Corpus Christi Portrait.” The Marlowe Society, 23 June 2015.
Rutter, Tom. “Life and Historical Events.” The Cambridge Introduction to Christopher Marlowe, Cambridge UP, 2012, p. 2.
“Christopher Marlowe.” Poetry Foundation, n.d.
4 Editors. “Christopher Marlowe.”, A&E Networks Television, n.d,  02 June 2016.
 Alberge, Dalya. “Christopher Marlowe Credited as One of Shakespeare’s Co-Writers.” The Guardian, 23 Oct. 2016,