Marlow’s Genius as a Playwright/Dramatist
Christopher Marlow was one of the dramatists of Elizabethan era. He is indirectly rival to William Shakespeare. In fact, William Shakespeare was influenced by him. If he were not died in a very young age, we would have two brilliant dramatist in Elizabethan era. In fact, it is said that “No Marlow, no Shakespeare”. William Shakespeare has borrowed writing style from Christopher Marlow. In a very short life span, he has written dramas, which are still remembered. He was a genius, who had completed his study on university scholarship. The secrete behind his death has not been disclosed but he, in a very young age, added his name in the list of great dramatists. He was a tragedian, who focused mainly on tragedies. In most of his plays, the protagonist faces his downfall because of his own ambitions. Some of his prominent plays are Tamburlaine, Dr. Faustus and Jew of Malta. Tamburlaine was so successful that its second part was also written because of the influencing style of the writer.
Christopher Marlow is the pioneer of the technique of blank verse. His successors had used his technique freely, even after his death, in their writing styles but he was the one, who created a new writing style in form of blank verse. In his own era, the technique became prominent and most of the writers, including Shakespeare, started using it. Dr. Faustus is the example of usage of beautiful poetic concept of blank verse. Among all the plays of Christopher Marlow, it is most poetic play. Thus, if he was the innovator of blank verse and this technique is still being used by the writers, then the credit of poetic excellence definitely goes to Christopher Marlow’s poetic excellence. Furthermore, English tragedies, before Marlow were not so successful because they were translated from the Italian languages but he innovates and structured a new style of writing tragedies.Some of the reasons behind his successful plays, in that era, were his short dialogues, lyrical fineness and presence of actions in them.
Schelling’s remarks about Christopher Marlow are worth mentioning:
“Marlowe gave the drama passion and poetry and poetry was his most precious gift. Shakespeare would not have been Shakespeare had Marlowe never written or lived. He might not have been altogether the Shakespeare we know.”
Tragedies of Christopher Marlow has their own scope. He had redefined tragedy and did not stick to the rules of Aristotle. He undervalued three so-called unities. He proved that unities are not necessary for a tragedy. Frequently, he removed the concept of unity of time and space in his plays. He reduced the outer conflict and increased the inner conflict. Although his heroes had flaws, yet their war is not with the gods or the world but with their innersoles. Dr. Faustus’s ambitions to gain power, knowledge and luxuries of life are responsible for his downfall. Timur’s ambition to gain power doomed his fate. In this way, most of the characters of Christopher Marlow fought with their own evil minds.It was also famous that Marlow is ethics and can go against the God but Dr. Faustus is evident that he, like Milton, has also balanced the religion and literature. Protagonists, characterized by Christopher Marlow, have heroic qualities. In front of main characters, minor characters have no value. His heroes are enough for the development of his plot as well as story of the play. The role of fate has also been ignored by Christopher Marlow. If any characters faces his destruction, then fate is not responsible for it but it is action of the character, which destroys him.
Renaissance elements can be found in the plays of Christopher Marlow. He is a poet of the period of renaissance. If we thoroughly read his plays, we can prove that he was effected by the renaissance period. Revival of learning was the key factor of renaissance. Development could be seen in every filed of life, therefore, Christopher Marlow could not stop himself to add renaissance elements in his dramas. His famous play, Dr. Faustus is full of features of renaissance. For instance, Dr. Faustus have lust for knowledge and power as he chooses black magic to fulfill his lusts. He also has lust for beauty. Helen of Troy, from the Greece, is its representation.Thus, the marks of renaissance can be found in every play of Christopher Marlow. Hence, it can be adjudged that Christopher Marlow was the writer of renaissance.
Marlow’s tragedies are high serious. There is no humor in his plays. Comical elements in Dr. Faustus were subsequently added. In original play, they were not available. Christopher Marlow sticks to the point i.e. tragedy. Moreover, he often ignores female characters to characterize in his plays. We seldom find any female character in his dramas. He pursuits beauty but ignores the characterization of female characters. Apart from this, he only has main plot in his plays. We cannot find any subplots in his dramas. These characteristics of Christopher Marlow, do not degrade him but it is his writingstyle, which makes him different from common writers. He is among the list of university wits, who reformed the theater of Elizabethan period and increased the interest of people in watching plays.
At last but not least, Christopher Marlow was a great writer. He is not the writer of his own era but a universal writer for every period. He is remembered today and will be remembered in future because of his contribution to English drama. He has morality in his plays. His plays are theological though he was considered an atheist. He added actions and blank verse in plays. He renewed the form of tragedy. Impact of renaissance is also part of Christopher Marlow’s writing. He influenced many writers. In many of the writer’s styles, we can find Christopher Marlow. In ancient Greece tragedies, human fought with gods, then trend changed and the fight between human and the world was started in tragedies but Christopher Marlow again changed the custom; he proved that the real fight is between man and his innersole. In every play of this great writer, the hero fights against himself. In order to conclude, it is necessary to mention here that Marlow’s plays are less in number but more in value and will be remembered because of his poetic excellence.