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Christopher Marlowe (1564 – 1593)

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Christopher  Marlowe  (1564 – 1593)

Christopher Marlowe is considered the precursor of Shakespeare.

He was born at Canterbury in 1564, the same year of Shakespeare’s birth.

His father was a shoemaker but he studied at Canterbury and at Cambridge where he took his degree thanks to the intervention of the queen herself, in fact the University didn’t want to give Marlowe his degree, because he had shown atheist and blasphemous attitudes.

Marlowe lived a very short life but he worked for the government perhaps as a spy and he was killed at the age of 29 in a tavern as a consequence of his atheism or for his work as a spy.

Marlowe wrote particularly for the theatre and his plays are “Tumberlain the great”,“The Jew of Malta”,”Doctor Faustus”,”Didon Queen of Cartage” and his last work “Edward” that wrote a short time before dying.

Marlowe characters are ambitious people that reflect the individual exaltation typical of the spirit of the Humanism. All Marlowe’s Plays are around one hero in fact they are one man plays.

Only one is the main character and around him we find minor characters that are only a background.

All characters shows a strong will to power in fact they want to reach the unreachable because they trust on their personal capabilies and are convinced to be masters of their destiny.

Tumberlain the great  was pushed by the desire to have power, political power and in fact he became the governor from a Childwood and adolescence as shapered.

The Jew of  Malta was urged by the desire of money instead Doctor Faustus tried to get a perfect and unlimited knowledge.

All Plays are written in blank verse that is the iambic pentameter without rhyme. The structure of the plays is based on a mixture of morality play and classical tragedy above all for the presence of the chorus but in the language we also find quotations from classical writers as for example Ovid’s amores.

Doctor Faustus is the story of a scientist who wasn’t satisfied with the culture he had so he turned his attention to magic and he made a contract with Mephistopheles. He decided to have 24 years of complete knowledge but after this period he had to give Lucifer his soul for ever.

The ure of Faustus and his story have been interpreted in different ways because some critics exalt Faustus as a hero while other condemned him because he had shown defiant attitudes to God. In effect Faustus embodies the Renaissance man that desires to impose his personality. Faustus is a complex character because in his personality we find contradictory aspects: he is arrogant and self interested but he is also charismatic and strong, intellectually brilliant.

The Play however wants to put in evidence the dangerous that are taken, caused by going beyond human limits and by megalomania. In a few words it is true that the man is the master of his destiny but he must not forget that he is a limited creature and so he can’t be ed to God.       






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