November 2012 Archives

Suzi Gard Entry 3

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1. In terms of this research project, what have you been thinking about this week?
This week I have been thinking about the way that artists' work (particularly that of dramatists') can be appropriated and adapted repeatedly throughout history by other artists or historians in order to serve their vision. It is in this way that we have the power to shape the way a figure or work of art is remembered. By imposing our ourselves and our ideas onto a figure or a work of art, we are adding layers onto the original creation that obscure the way that the viewer experiences and remembers the original work. (Referring to my side-bar study below): For example, because The Fall references Doctor Faustus in their music, known historical theological dissident, they are adding to their own rebellious status while simultaneously associating their audience's perception of Faustus and Marlowe with the punk attitude of The Fall.

2. If you have undertaken any research, what did you discover?
Out of curiosity, I decided take a look at how Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus has influenced other works of art in our modern age. I was pleasantly surprised to find a song called "DKTR. Faustus" by The Fall, a prolific British post/punk band that has been generating work since the 1970s. The spirit of 1970s punk is notably anti-establishment and values self-liberation from confines of social norms. I found it exciting that the dramatic work of Marlowe, our rebel against the theo-social norms of Elizabethan England, inspired the work of punk music renegades over 300 years after Marlowe's death.

3. How might you relate this research to your work in other classes or rehearsal?
My discoveries this week have inspired me to look simultaneously at works of art from the past and present and the way that reference to figures and works of years of the past perpetuate the spirit of a greater philosophical movement. The acknowledgement of predecessors of a multi-generational idea also creates an elevated pedestal for an individual. It is extremely possible that artists and historians have over the years built up the image of Christopher Marlowe as a first-rate rebel of the Elizabethan Age to support their own ideas, movements, studies, and visions of dramatic adaptations. This exaggeration of character can contribute to developing ideas and arts, but it the investment in his character can also be a departure from the human being.

Suzi Gard Blog Entry 2

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1. In terms of this research project, what have you been thinking about this week?
This week, we have been primarily discussing Marlowe as a voice of resistance to the theo-socio-political norms of the Elizabethan Era. Many of the sources I ran into in my article search pin him as deviant dramatist who has made his mark in history and possibly met his end due to rubbing most other people the wrong way. (There is still uncertainty and lots of speculation on the precise motivation for his murder.) We've adopted the term "rebel" as a way to describe him due to his outright religious opposition to Protestant England and his audacity to pen a play that staged the taboo conjuring of spirits, devils, and the gates of hell before live audiences.

2. If you have undertaken any research, what did you discover?
In reading through Richard Dutton's Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe: Censorship and Construction, I have fortunately come across a great deal of valuable information on the censorship of theatre in Elizabethan times and the role of the Master of Revels in the staging of dramatists' work. This provides important details in the backdrop of Marlowe's story. If Marlowe really was such an irreverent rebel, how on earth did he ever get any of his plays produced to be seen by the Queen? He would have had to go through the Master of Revels to have his work approved. While most histories paint this role as one of an oppressive nature, Dutton reveals Edmund Tilney, the Master of Revels of Marlowe's time, as an ally, a partner without whom The Tragicall Historie of Doctor Faustus would never have been staged. So with this facilitation to the stage through Edmund Tilney, how rebellious was Marlowe's taboo and deviant play after all?

3. How might you relate this research to your work in other classes or rehearsal?
These discoveries I've made in studying the historical context of Christopher Marlowe has led me to consider more in-depth the power of state-mandated censorship and the role of such a character as the Master of Revels in the production of theatre during any given era. We acknowledge quite often the playwrights of controversial plays as progressive, rebellious, and undoubtedly clever, yet little conscious credit is given to the editors of these plays who, despite a rigid mandate from the monarchy of what is permissible and impermissible, allow works that unsettle social norms to reach the stage where it is finally witnessed by the public eye...and in Marlowe's case, the Queen herself. As Dutton points out, the relationship between theatre-makers and the censor is "symbiotic." Neither can survive in the business without the other. Seeing this perspective on theatre censorship has caused me to ponder on my own creative process and the rules of the institution in which I practice. What is really off bounds in theatre today? Why? Is anything we do in this department truly "rebellious" if we have no censorship and is our generation of theatre-makers losing the art of clever circumvention of rules due to a lack of limitation?

As a precaution, I am reposting this blog out in the open to be sure it is seen.
(Sorry if this didn't show up on your grading radar earlier...blogging and tagging confusions on my end!)

In his article on William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, Richard Dutton describes the controversial figure of Marlowe as a frank, outspoken playwright whose works often reflect his own worldview. Dutton writes, "the 'over-reaching' protagonists of the plays mirror the man of aggressively heterodox views who came under Privy Council scrutiny, while some ideas voiced in the plays are very close to opinions that Marlowe himself was supposed to hold and which were recorded as incriminating" (Dutton, 2) He continues to illustrate the image of Marlowe as a dualistic character: a "gentleman scholar" with seedy, "unfortunate associations with the popular theatre," whose own incompleteness can be found in the characters and themes of his written texts. Marlowe's contrasting image of a "great poet" and "'demon' of the Elizabethan culture" bolstered the social and religious debates on his work, Dr Faustus. While some seemingly understood his work as an orthodox Christian play with a strong, conclusive ending, others saw his play as an expression of humanist views with a provocative, indeterminate ending.

Dutton also addresses Marlowe's highly controversial murder in 1593. He frames his historical findings in Marlowe's close friendship or association with Sir Thomas Walsingham, the dedicatee of an English publisher. As it so happens, Ingram Frizer, the man who stabbed Marlowe to death was the Walsinghams' business agent. With this new tangle of relationships revealed, Dutton asks the reader to reconsider the nature of Marlowe's murder. Was this crime perhaps committed on the Walsinghams' behalf to quiet the controversial atheistic voice of Christopher Marlowe and simultaneously sever their association with a "godless man"?

Edmund Tilney is another character who appears in Dutton's framing of Marlowe's social context. Tilney was delegated the Master of Revels, or "the Queen's Censor," who was responsible for the censoring and organization of revels and plays for them to be suitable entertainment for the court. His position is designed to appease those in rule, and Tilney was granted the power to administer punishment for resisting rules of play as he saw fit.

Dutton writes, "[G.E.] Bentley gives definitive voice to an attitude to the government of the period that was widely prevalent for much of this century: that the regime was in principle ruthlessly authoritarian, if often in practice incompetent, and underpinned by graft and corruption.That being so, the drama of the day must have been anodynely non-controversial from the point of view of the authorities, except for the odd blunder or when 'dangerous matter' some how found a surreptitious path to the stage"" (Dutton, 13). Since these performances were intended to be viewed by the court, playwrights had the opportunity to express their community's discontents with rulers and their policies and possibly incite change through subtle thematic inception.

Dutton quotes Glynne Wickham: 'the relationship between Church, State and individual being [....] was the very subject matter which the whole machinery of censorship and control had been devised to police and suppress.' (Dutton, 13)

Dutton, Richard. "Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe: Censorship and Construction."

Yearbook of English Studies. Vol. 23. (1993): 1-29. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. HTML tags.

Emily Kolb Blog Entry 3

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This week has been challenging- now that my group has an argument, I am looking at Faust not for what interests me but specifically to see: in what was does Marlowe diverge from the accepted theology of the time. Luckily, this is somewhat how I've been looking at the play but now I am searching for an argument that relates. As I re-read the play and look at scholarly articles about the play, the theme of knowledge is evident. The idea of knowledge, and the pursuit of knowledge being damnable- and so, I began to wonder how does Marlowe say something different about knowledge than what was normative. This week I began to think that it is not knowledge that Marlowe is looking at, it's false knowledge, knowledge that lacks. This is the sentence that needs to be unpacked: Faustus is not damned for his knowledge, he is damned for his confused knowledge.

If Faustus is a liar, it is a lie of omission, (or, perhaps, also a lie in bad faith). A lie, yes, but perhaps a lie of a different severity than a blatant lie. I think Marlowe means to paint a picture of Faustus as something other than a sinner. Or perhaps, a sinner in a different sense, a sinner in the Judaic sense where sin is "missing the mark" or "straying from the path" a definition that came back to me when I read the definition of Hamartia: "missing the mark". Considering how readily I saw Faust as a tragic hero of Greek proportions (and it's explicit- he is introduced through Icarus), this shared definition intrigues me. Marlowe suggests that Faust' sin should not be so easily damnable because his sin is not mutually exclusive with a mistake, instead this sin encompasses this mistake. Faust has strayed from the path.

Faust doesn't have accurate information. He is purposefully deceived (sometimes he is more complicit in this deception- it begins to look like self-deception). Things don't appear as they are. Lies look like truths. Evil looks good. Mephistophiles looks like Franciscan friar (at Faust's request, yes: he is in bad faith. Or maybe it's just another joke at the Catholic Church's expense).

So, the question becomes how guilty is Faust? How damnable, how mortal his sin? In a sentencing without a gray area, (he is either innocent or guilty, he either goes to heaven or hell) I think Marlowe means to suggest that he is innocent. The judge of this is how bad do we feel for Faust at the end of the play: Do we believe he's gotten his just deserts? I don't think so. We feel bad not because he is a respectable man, but because he isn't. He is a fool. He talks a good game but he is a fool. He is a fool in two respects. The first, because he is fooled. He is fooled by the evil powers over and over again. He is a fool because he doesn't have the facts straight (the examples of Faust's misinformation and unmet expectations are plentiful).

The other way that he is a fool is why the middle part of the play exists. Faust behaves foolishly. He pulls pranks. We see this very clearly when we look at how Faust uses his dark powers, and how the demonic forces of the play use theirs. The demonic forces use their powers on the intellect, on the soul. They modify truth, they equivocate. In spite of his expression of what he wants to do with his power in the first scenes of the play, Faust's tricks and pranks are bodily, physical. Even his most impressive feat, the flying on dragons bit, is physical. His dabbling in the dark arts is so harmless when compared to Lucifer and Mephistophiles. If he errs, it is harmless. If he is criminal, it is a victimless crime. And here is where Marlowe blasphemes.

Why is Faust punished? Because the God of Elizabethan England is a contradiction. No sin is victimless because every sin is an affront to God. Every sin is a violation of God's will. And the punishment is ostentatious, spectacular: because God is getting revenge. (...yeah this kind of from Foucault- which also speaks to the ubiquitous nature of theology in Marlowe's every day life. This is a... ecclesiasti-political justice. An affront to the accepted theology is an affront to EVERYTHING) Faust's punishment is a display of God's power. And the audience is disturbed, for we don't see how Faust deserves this. Faust's strayed from the path, yes, but does he deserve hell? No. And nor did Eve (because for this argument the stories are as analogous as ever). And here is the contradiction, this God is unforgiving. Eve's God was not a contradiction, because Eve's God hadn't the pretense of being a forgiving God. The God of the New Testament, the God of the Protestant Reformation, the God of Elizabethan England is supposed to be a forgiving God. In Doctor Faustus, Marlowe heretically reveals God's face.

And now back to reality. That is probably not a four-minute argument and I have the responsibility of making it a four-minute argument, so obviously it will have to be broken down (which kills me because I wish I could dig in deeper,(- esp to this idea of Faust in bad faith, which isn't complete), not pack it up again. But I've gotta and I'm gonna. That's my challenge as I move forward). And once I have that reduced, considering the structure of our presentation, I need to decide what scenes best represent this. What's nice is that I think the meat of this can be shown in one of the middle scenes, which likely would have gotten the shaft from our presentation otherwise but I think they do say something important. Those middle scenes show Faust to be a fool and put in the context of the first and last scenes- I think our audience will have to be intrigued. The Faust who pretends to have his head knocked off is a different Faust from the eloquent and impressive Faust of the beginning, and the repentant, terrified Faust of the end. I'd be interested in the journey.

An addendum in response to your comments on our argument: The above way of looking at the play may help explain how the play was allowed to be performed. Our group came at this project looking for a rebellious Marlowe, and a lot of that was tied to his atheism. What I encountered when I read the play, and other members had a similar discovery, was that the play really didn't seem atheist. In fact, it seemed to be a morality play, a warning that very much ascribed to what we supposed was the accepted theology of the time. Perhaps Marlowe got this on stage by writing a play that did align with what everyone would have thought (the most obvious way that it diverges is that Faustus is not saved when he repents, but I think this can be explained and that the audience would have accepted this) but that the consequence of this theology is revealed. It conforms, but what does that imply. Perhaps Marlowe depended upon the inability for the censors to effectively censor the emotions in the audience that Marlowe intended to elicit- that is of pity and confusion in regards to Faust's final punishment.

Assignment 4: Sculpt!

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1. We'll organize the presenting of our presentation in a way that highlights what we have each researched, so each person will pick a scene from Faustus and argue a different aspect of our thesis based on our individual research. We will come together on our introduction and conclusion, dividing that up between us, but for the most part in our presentation everyone will be responsible for their own individual research.
2. Our main idea that we would like to convey to the class is that Doctor Faustus subverts the conventional and accepted theology of the time that Marlowe wrote it. We are using the play Faustus as a lens to look at Elizabethan society and Marlowe himself.
3. Our format is good, we just need to reorganize it based on a new topic. Now we will be using a lecture format and taking the play scene by scene (as in a few specific scenes that we have researched) to examine our thesis.

Our group will be looking at how Doctor Faustus is a representative work of Marlowe's turning away from his religious background, upbringing, and education. And so, Doctor Faustus subverts the conventional and accepted Christian theology of Elizabethan England. Doctor Faustus was a controversial and daring play in that it not only discussed God and religion, but it challenged his society's understanding of God and then everything that comes with that, including the Church, the Law, and the Monarchy. Doctor Faustus is an affront to the power structure of 16th Century England that is both the most present in everyday life and least welcoming to challenge or doubt; that is the relationship between the God of Elizabethan England and the man of Elizabethan England.

Emily Kolb Blog Entry 2

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This week I've been mainly thinking about our question of if Marlowe is a rebel or not and what this label means. It's been difficult to put the articles I've been looking at in the context of this question- the authors I'm reading aren't looking at that. As we move forward, I feel like I need more historical context. To rebel suggests a contrast between two things- I have a good idea of Marlowe- but not so much an idea of the actual historical context in a more specific way (literally- that year, that day, etc). I have a solid idea of Christian theology in general- but not such a specific one. The article that I've focused on paints an interesting picture of Satan and sin to me but what would it have seemed to the audience of the time?

Another interesting question that ran across my mind this week was this idea of Marlowe as an atheist. Because not much information- looking at this play specificly- serves to support that theory. However, it's possible that Marlowe would have been trying to expose a skeptical view of the world but then also trying not to been seen as an atheist (I was listening to something about Descartes who was writing a few years after Marlowe and he kept affirming his belief in God, ostensibly not because he was trying to forward theistic thinking, but rather because he was afraid of the consequences of his thoughts gaining him the dangerous title of atheist). Looking at the death of Marlowe, which some have claimed to be related to his atheism, this would support a view of Doctor Faustus as being part of an attempt to avoid this title of atheist.

The article I read was about what Marlowe was attempting to say about Evil. That it was trying to reveal the frivolous nature of evil in the world. Considering what I said above, I wonder if we could get anywhere looking at if Marlowe was trying to say something about badness, self-indulgence, pride outside of a theological sense- not considering so much the theological implications of this behavior, but rather the worldly consequences. And that Marlowe put this questions in this religious context in order to make his idea palatable (even legible?) and also to avoid the title of atheist.

Megan Burns Blog Entry 2

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Two things I've been thinking about this week:

1: I want to be the devil's advocate of this project. I think that Christopher Marlowe the man and Marlowe the myth are two different things. The information that I've been learning about him and the time period he lived in are making me think that a lot of what people perceive about Marlowe are largely influenced by a western lens (lens! Huzzah!). Especially the stuff about him being a spy and his homosexuality, these things are perceived under a western 20th/21st century lens. Sexual identity was perceived differently at the time and while he may have seemed like a rebellious man for being gay, it just wasn't perceived the way it would be now. Sexual identity is really a 20th century convention.

2: I want to navigate our presentation. I want to make sure we keep our lecture compelling, on track, and can navigate our "debates." I like the idea of us disagreeing with each other and participating with the audience, but I want to make sure we stay on track and keep within the confines of the time allotted and the subject itself. I think what will be hard is making sure, also, that we have a clear structure from the beginning that we stick to if we are planning to present it this way. I think our idea for our project has a lot of potential but I don't know if we can pull it off. I think we can we just have to be rigorous with ourselves and our presentation.

Smith, Warren D. "The Nature of Evil in Doctor Faustus." Modern Humanities Research Association 60.2 (1965): 171-75. JSTOR. Web.

This article looks mainly at the frivolity of Faust's actions in his 24-years. It posits that Faust's actions suggest that sin is trivial, that Faust's illusions of grandeur about all the things he'll be able to do with this power reveal that the act of sinning is never as weighty, or important, or fun as we think it might be.
The author responds to suggestions of others that the middle part of Faust, especially parts that involve the silly pranks he plays on people, weren't actually written by Marlowe. That they so starkly contrast the beautiful rhetoric and poetry and the weight of the ideas in the beginning and end of the play, that they must be written by a different author. Smith, however, posits that Marlowe's point is that sin is petty in nature. That the act of sinning should be in stark contrast to the heavy theological questions implied at the beginning and end.
The author also suggests that the smallness of scope of the 7 deadly sins is central to the play. That the parade of the sins reveals their small desires, and then Faust manifests this smallness throughout the play, expressing each of the sins in 24-year journey. And it is through this journey as well that Faust learns the smallness strength that the power provided by a pact with the devil allows, and that it is perhaps at this realization that Faust chooses to repent. All this, Smith argues, serves to suggest that the middle part of Faust is an important and purposeful representation of Marlowe's ideas about sin.

Rutter, Tom. Cambridge Introduction to Christopher Marlowe.
West Nyack, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
ebrary collections. 15 Nov. 2012

This source tells a great deal about Marlowe's life. Although little is actually known about his life because there isn't much documented and there are many holes in his history (like Aphra Behn...), the article gave a great deal of helpful information. One of the things my group is focusing on his Marlowe's alleged atheism and how this could have contributed to his writing and themes in Faustus. What is interesting about this is Marlowe had a pretty heavily emphasized religious upbringing. He attended a school that focused on the teachings of the Church of England and was granted a scholarship to Corpus Christi College with the expectation that he would graduate and become a priest, "He was the recipient of a scholarship...the assumptions being that the student would become a priest if he proved suitable." The article also speculates that when Marlowe would leave the college's campus for extended periods to go to Rheims in Northern France. This is controversial because, "the reason any young man in the 1580s would go to Rheims would be to attend the English Catholic seminary there which trained up young men for the priesthood, preparing them to return to England in secret with the ultimate aim of converting the country back to Catholicism." At this point in his life, one would assume that Marlowe was driven by religion. However, in 1593, Marlowe delivered a note entitled "The opinion of one Christopher (Marlowe) concerning his damnable judgment of religion, and scorn of God's word". In a little over 10 years, what had changed so significantly in Marlowe's life to lead him from what we can assume to be a life driven by religion to a life driven against religion? The delivery of this manuscript is also speculated to be one of the factors that attributed to Marlowe's supposed murder. The article leads the reader to believe that the death of Marlowe occurred three days later under suspicious circumstances. The article as a whole throws a lot of information at the reader, but mostly it opens up more questions about Marlowe than it answers.

Ornstein , Robert. "Modern Language Association." Modern Language Association. 83.5 (1968): 1378-1385. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. .

Marlowe and God: The Tragic Theology of "Dr. Faustus"

This article began with the prolific nature of Marlowe's play and also it's controversy over the two publications (1604 and 1616). It then moves into some critiques of the movement from the light beginning to the tragic and desperate end of Faustus, and comparisons to Faustbook, the source for the pranks pulled by Faust in the play (how the book and the play differed, what was added, what was left out). The article then goes on to discuss in detail Marlowe's metaphysical motives for writing Faust, as well as looking at the dramatic structure of Faust as a Tragic Hero, comparing him to Hamlet, Macbeth and other such tragic heroes. The article makes the argument that his claims had less to do with commenting on religion or society itself (discussing the possibility that claims about his atheism are invalid) and that the play has more to do with his own existential questions. The article itself looks at ways in which Marlowe can be seen through his plays and how he is also not always accurately portrayed through his plays. For example Marlowe as a free thinker comes out in plays such as Tamburlaine and the Jew of Malta. But on the other hand Marlowe's specific theological views cannot be taken entirely from Faust. It is unclear whether or not the powerful, vengeful God in Faust really matches up with Marlowe's beliefs or not. The article goes on to dispel other scholarly misconceptions of the play as a whole, often attempting to correct such misconceptions by looking at the body of Marlowe's work, not just the one play.

1. We must necessarily communicate certain contextual facts in order for the class to understand fully our encapsulation of our assigned time period and the arguments of our project. For example, Christopher Marlowe's upbringing was very religious: he was baptized, and his family brought him up in a life dedicated to the teachings of the Church of England. Somewhere along the line, however, Marlowe changed his religious beliefs and may or may not have become an atheist. (Katie's source specifically states that he was an atheist because of the note he delivered to the Privy Council entitled "The opinion of one Christopher (Marlowe) concerning his damnable judgment of religion, and scorn of God's word".) The Elizabethan society of the day was incredibly protestant, as the Protestant Reformation was well underway; according to "Why Devils Came when Faustus Called Them," their beliefs seriously conflicted with some of the elements of Marlowe's plays, especially the demonic conjurations in Doctor Faustus. We must make a note of this in our presentation. It was also notable that Marlowe was reported as being less interested in the political scene of the day; instead, he was more interested in the grandeur of philosophical ideas, a small detail that may very well be noteworthy along the line. What is also necessary to remember is that playwrights and artists of the day had to jump through hoops in order to get their art approved by certain censors. Marlowe had to submit his work for approval before it was allowed to be performed. His work is controversial, but how, then, was such controversy allowed to pass? This is a vital point of discussion. We should certainly note examples of how serious some of his controversial issues were, taking care to contextualize them. One such example is how his character of Doctor Faustus had been "lying with" Helen of Troy, a demon. This concept in the day would have been outlandishly controversial, so we must note how and why that would be true in order to formulate our argument as to whether or not (and why) Christopher Marlowe was considered a rebel of both his day and ours. It will also be important to communicate that there are two different version of Doctor Faustus. The extent to which we discuss the differences between the two texts will inform how much we describe those differences, but it will be have to be explained no matter what. For the article "The Nature of Evil in Doctor Faustus", the debate about the differences between the two versions is central to the argument the author is making. Another thing that will have to be made clear is that Faust has high aspirations in the beginning of the play and that once given power by Lucifer, he ends up using this power for pranks and tricks. The seven deadly sins are also important to the story, and we'll have to decide how much to assume what our audience knows about the seven deadly sins.

2. We are necessarily going to talk about the beliefs and values of the society in which the play was performed, most specifically the heavily Protestant environment and its impact upon theatre and other aspects of society of the day. Specifically, such topics as the areas of morality in which society and Marlowe's work were in conflict. We will also discuss the various perspectives and ideologies within said society as it relates to Marlowe's work; that is, we will discuss various examples of how society could have viewed his work and why. We must give some factual historical contexts such as Marlowe's own personal history, the history of the Elizabethan reign, and the history of significant political and social movements such as the Protestant Reformation. In terms of historical context, we will have to explain that England was a protestant country at the time of first performance. Therefore, the mockery of the pope in the play could either be viewed as a mockery of Christianity, or a mockery of Catholics (that the Protestants in the audience would have enjoyed). We also will have to address one of the main tenants of Christianity that the play involves: the idea of salvation and forgiveness. Because Faust does attempt to repent at the end of the play, we have to communicate to our audience that this is a very important plot point when put in the context of widely held belief about theology and Christianity. Faust's inability to repent holds very heavy theological consequence.

3. Unfortunately, we cannot include all the fascinating information that we find. For example, we may possibly have to exclude information about his "badass" death and any controversy or mystery surrounding it. We may be able to make this interesting by mentioning all the ways it is speculated that he died and leave it up for the audience to decide what they believe. Also, in our contextual explanation, we may have to exclude an explanation of the economics of the time. In order to ensure that our focus is narrowed enough to be able to concretely analyze our main thesis, discussions of his other plays as they relate to his life, his society, and our argument must be omitted. Finally, we will also not be able to talk much about his espionage experience, other than a brief touch-base, as it is not entirely relevant to our discussion of Doctor Faustus and how it does or does not make Marlowe a rebel.

Guenther, Genevieve. "Why Devils Came When Faustus Called Them." Modern Philology 109.1 (2011): 46-70. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. .

This article discusses the beliefs that Christopher Marlowe's famous play, Doctor Faustus, had the power to conjure actual devils upon the stage during its performances. It cites two separate theories about such unholy powers and explains their contextual logic, detailing why one might be lead to believe such an idea. The article explains that within the context of the society in which the play was performed, the current theological doctrine proclaimed the beliefs that otherworldly conjurations of devils and uses of magic, even if performed upon the stage in the context of a play, had the power to unleash evil into the world. Theologians of the day preached a belief that audience members were in danger of damning themselves and endangering their chances of salvation if they allowed themselves to enjoy the play or if they even were present during the performances. Salvation was the ultimate goal for Protestants, as their daily lives were spent working toward it and praying that they would achieve it in years to come. Life on earth was fr the purpose of serving God and doing His will, and participating in any activity that was against Church doctrine, such as magic and rendezvous with devils, were deadly damning sins. Arguably, due to Christopher Marlowe's Cambridge education and theological experience, he knew that such conjurations and displays of magic were controversial and would cause protestant anxiety; therefore, he was quite the rebel of his day, whether he was an atheist or a man of faith.

Elizabethan England and Marlowe

Our plan is to present our project as a lecture in a compelling and dynamic way. Our lecture will be centered around the question of Christopher Marlowe; rebel? How was or wasn't he? What did that mean in Elizabethan England? What does it mean today? To get into this subject we will begin by looking at the word "rebel" looking at contemporary ideas of what it means, asking the class if they think they're a rebel, addressing what we think of them. Then we will take a giant leap into Elizabethan England, talk about conventions of theater during the time, the religious background and the political background (including censorship of theater and writing at the time). From there we will look at Dr.Faustus, from our reading of the play and scholarly articles about it. We will talk about how Dr. Faustus was (or wasn't or maybe secretly was) a rebellious act, and whether or not that makes Marlowe a rebel, which leads us into....Marlowe himself! Basic info about his life, his espionage info, and things that may or may not have been rebellious on his part. We will bring together Marlowe, the rebel, Faustus, Elizabethan England, and our contemporary ideas about Marlowe into our conclusion. We will also have a powerpoint that will include pictures and music to bring you into the period of Elizabethan England and to aid in keeping things exciting! Also to keep us on track.

In researching this we will each tackle a different topic (all reading the play though) so as we present it we will each have a different point of reference, maybe even arguing with each other (in a civil way or cage match) over ideas and claims.

The Story of Christopher Marlowe

Whats a rebel? Comparisons to contemporary rebels (James Dean, don't worry there is scholarly evidence)

Societal Context (including religion)

Timeline of Christopher Marlowe's life

Faustus itself

How Faustus was received

Conclusions about: Marlowe as a Rebel, what a rebel is, what that meant in Elizabethan England, what Marlowe's dissent says about Elizabethan society

Doctor Faustus

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Full text PDF!!

Massacre at Paris

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Here's a link to the full text online:

MLA citation:

Briggs, Julia. "Oxford University Press." Oxford University Press. 34.135 (1983): 257-278. Web. 9 Nov. 2012. .

+Not well received by critics: "obviously a work of great haste,
and gotup forthepurpose ofgratifyingthevulgarfeelingatthatdate against popery: indeed, it has hardly anythingto recommend it."
" --John Payne Collier (1820)
"a brutal, chauvinistic propagandist', the play 'a prostitution of art" --Wilbur Sanders

+The play was one of the earliest to present recent historical and contemporary political events on the English stage

+the text we have is not that of the play written by Marlowe and first performed by Lord Strange's men, but a garbled and confused memory of that play which must, when complete, have been half as long again.

+As we have it, the text is worryingly fuzzy, its actions confusingly placed and poorly motivated. The Folger Library leaf hints that this was not originally the case.

+In his presentation of the massacre itself he appears to have reproduced with remarkable accuracy forms of ritualized violence peculiar to the French religious wars. (Marlowe's extensive knowledge of wounds??)

+The relation of state religion and the individual conscience was the burning question of the late sixteenth century throughout Europe.

...more to come shortly

I found this information about Marlowe's life and valuable contextual information from the following source:
Rutter, Tom. Cambridge Introduction to Christopher Marlowe.
West Nyack, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2012. p xiv.

(Note: This is the citation given to me by the site. We'll want to recheck it later.)

Key dates
Note: in 1582 most Catholic countries adopted the new calendar proposed by Pope Gregory XIII in place of the existing Julian Calendar, moving the year ahead by ten days. England did not adopt the Gregorian Calendar until 1752, so dates given below refer to the Julian Calendar unless otherwise indicated.

  • • 17 November 1558: death of Queen Mary, followed by accession of Elizabeth I.

  • • 22 May 1561: marriage of John Marlowe and Katherine Arthur at church of St George the Martyr, Canterbury, where their children are later christened (see below).

  • • 21 May 1562: Mary Marlowe christened.

  • • 26 February 1564: Christopher Marlowe christened.

  • • May- September 1565: siege of Malta by the Turks. 18 or 28 December 1566: Margaret Marlowe christened.

  • • 28 August 1568: Mary Marlowe buried.

  • • 31 October 1568: unnamed son of John and Katherine Marlowe christened; buried 5 November.

  • • 20 August 1569: Joan Marlowe christened.

  • • 1570: Elizabeth I excommunicated by Pope Pius V.

  • • 26 July 1570: Thomas Marlowe christened; buried 7 August.

  • • 14 July 1571: Ann Marlowe christened.

  • • 23 August 1572: massacre of French Protestants begins in Paris on the evening before St Bartholomew's Day.

  • • 18 October 1573: Dorothy Marlowe christened.

  • • 8 April 1576: second Thomas Marlowe christened.

  • • December 1578: Marlowe enrols as scholar at the King's School, Canterbury.

  • • 1580: Jesuit mission to England begins.

  • • December 1580: Marlowe goes up to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

  • • 12 April 1584: Marlowe receives BA; remains at Cambridge to study for MA. Some of his work, e.g. his translation of Ovid's Amores, may have been ­ written there.

  • • 1587: German Faustbuch published.

  • • 8 February 1587: Mary, Queen of Scots executed.

  • • 29 June 1587: Privy Council write to the authorities of Corpus Christi requesting that Marlowe be allowed to receive his MA.

  • • 10 August 1587: 'Christopher Marlo', possibly the playwright, acquires a horse in London from James Wheatley (who in 1588 sues for its return).

  • • 16 November 1587: Philip Gawdy refers in a letter to a performance of a play that may be the second part of Tamburlaine.

  • • 1588: Robert Greene alludes to Tamburlaine in Perimedes the Blacksmith; earliest ­ possible date of Doctor Faustus.

  • • July 1588: Spanish Armada defeated.

  • • 9 October 1588: Marlowe sued by Edward Elvyn for £10 lent to him in London that April.

  • • 23 December 1588 (Gregorian Calendar): assassination of Duke of Guise, referred to in The Jew of Malta.

  • • 2 August 1589 (Gregorian Calendar): death of Henri III, accession of Henri IV as King of France.

  • • 18 September 1589: Marlowe, William Bradley and Thomas Watson fight in Hog Lane, London. Bradley is killed by Watson, who is arrested along with Marlowe. Marlowe is released on bail 1 October and acquitted 3 December; Watson is found guilty of manslaughter and pardoned in February 1590.

  • • 1590: Tamburlaine the Great published, as are the first three books of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene. 1591: Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella published.

  • • 1592: Marlowe's source for Doctor Faustus, the English Faust Book (a translation of the German Faustbuch), 'newly imprinted', perhaps indicating that this is not the first English edition.

  • • 26 January 1592: Robert Sidney writes to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, of Marlowe's arrest for counterfeiting in Flushing.

  • • 26 February 1592: first recorded performance of The Jew of Malta, by Strange's Men at the Rose.

  • • 3 March 1592: 'Harry the VI', possibly Shakespeare's Henry VI Part One, performed ­ by Strange's Men at the Rose.

  • • 9 May 1592: Marlowe bound over in London to keep the peace towards Allen Nicholls and Nicholas Helliot.

  • • 3 September 1592: Robert Greene dies; Marlowe is referred to in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, purportedly written by Greene on his deathbed.

  • • 15 September 1592: Marlowe arrested following street fight in Canterbury with William Corkine, who eventually drops his legal case against him.

  • • 26 September 1592: Thomas Watson buried; his Amintae Gaudia features a Latin dedication by 'C. M.', probably Marlowe, to Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke.

  • • 14 December 1592: death of Sir Roger Manwood, for whom Marlowe writes a Latin epitaph.

  • • 26 January 1593: The Massacre at Paris performed by Strange's Men at the Rose.

  • • 28 January 1593: playhouses close due to plague and do not reopen until late December.

  • • 5 May 1593: xenophobic verse libel signed 'Tamburlaine' posted on Dutch church in Broad Street.

  • • 12 May 1593: Thomas Kyd arrested. 18 May 1593: warrant issued for Marlowe to appear before Privy Council.

  • • 20 May 1593: Marlowe arrested at house of Thomas Walsingham in Scadbury, Kent; brought before Privy Council and charged to report to them daily.

  • • 26 May 1593/2 June 1593: possible dates for the delivery of Richard Baines's note on Marlowe to the Privy Council.

  • • 30 May 1593: Marlowe stabbed to death at house of Eleanor Bull, Deptford; coroner's report says that he was killed in self-defence by Ingram Frizer in the presence of Robert Poley and Nicholas Skeres.

  • • 1 June 1593: Marlowe buried at St Nicholas's church, Deptford.

  • • 28 June 1593: Ingram Frizer pardoned by the Queen.

  • • 1594: Dido, Queen of Carthage and Edward II both published.

  • • 30 September 1594: first recorded performance of Doctor Faustus by the Admiral's Men at the Rose, though its first actual performance was probably earlier than this.

  • • 1597: Thomas Beard refers to Marlowe's death in his Theatre of God's Judgements.

  • • 1598: Francis Meres refers to Marlowe's death in his Palladis Tamia. First known edition of Hero and Leander published, as are George Chapman's and Henry Petowe's continuations.

  • • 1599: A version of 'The Passionate Shepherd' is published in The Passionate Pilgrim.

  • • 1 June 1599: John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London, prohibit the further publication of satires and epigrams including 'Davies' Epigrams, with Marlowe's Elegies' (i.e. his translation of Ovid), and call for existing copies to be burnt.

  • • 1600: The more familiar version of 'The Passionate Shepherd' appears in England's Helicon; Lucan's First Book (Marlowe's translation of the Pharsalia) published.

  • • 22 November 1602: Philip Henslowe lends the Admiral's Men £4 to pay William Birde and Samuel Rowley for additions to Doctor Faustus.

  • • 1604: A-text of Doctor Faustus published.

  • • 1616: B-text of Doctor Faustus published.

  • • 1633: The Jew of Malta published following performances at Court and at the Cockpit theatre.

1. We will be researching Elizabethan Drama (not Shakespeare)
2. We will be looking at Christopher Marlowe and his play The Massacre at Paris and Tamburlaine and Faustus.
3. The social and political elements happening at the time include the end of the Protestant Reformation, the St. Bartholemew's Day Massacre, Council of Trent, Thirty Nine Articles and the Establishment of the Anglican Church (previously), The breakout of the Black Death (Bubonic Plague), Queen Elizabeth is excommunicated by the Catholic Church.
4. We thought that Marlowe was interesting and his tragedies hit at important political and social issues of Elizabethan England.
5. Here are our citations!
6. Greenfield , Matthew. Christopher Marlowe's Wound Knowledge. 119. PMLA, 2004. 233-246. Print.
Nathan, Richard. "Christopher Marlowe." Christopher Marlowe. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. .
Gray, Austin K. "Some Observations on Christopher Marlowe, Government
Agent."/PMLA/43.3 (1928): 682-700. Print.

Marlowe's Wounds

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