burns603: November 2012 Archives

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.

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.

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

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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