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English Literature - Elizabethan playwrights slide show
The chief literary
Elizabethan Age was
two masks associated with drama
between comedy and tragedy.
They are symbols of the ancient
Greek Muses, Thalia and Melpomene.
Thalia was the Muse of comedy (the
laughing face), while Melpomene was
the Muse of tragedy (the weeping
(1504 – 23 December 1556) was
an English playwright, cleric, and
schoolmaster, the author of Ralph
Roister Doister, generally regarded
as the first comedy written in
the English language.
first regular English tragedy was
Gorboduc, in blank verse performed in
1564. The first three acts were written by
Thomas Northon, the other two by Thomas
It is very dull, and is about King Gorboduc
and his family.
The Spanish Tragedy
Spanish Tragedy (1592) by Thomas
Kyd is an example of the tragedy of
blood, popular at the time. Blood and
death play a large part at such plays.
There are many aspects in this play that
are similar to those of Shakespeare’s
Hamlet such as a ghost who appears to
someone and even a character named
Christopher Marlowe – the first
Tamburlaine the Great
is a play in two parts by Christopher
Marlowe. It is loosely based on the life of
the Central Asian emperor, Timur "the
lame". Written in 1587 or 1588, the play is a
milestone in Elizabethan public drama.
It marks a turning away from the clumsy
language and loose plotting of the
earlier Tudor dramatists, and a new
language, memorable action, and
Tamburlaine - plot
deals with the rise to power of
Tamburlaine, a shepherd and a
robber. His terrible ambition drives him
onwards to more power and more
of Turkey whom
Tamburlaine takes from place to place
in a cage, like an animal.
Cruelty on stage
is pulled to Babylon in
a carriage, it is drawn by two kings
whom he curses and whips when
they do not get fast enough. When
they get tired, they are taken away
to be hanged and then two spare
kings have to pull the carriage.
with Thomas Kyd's The
Spanish Tragedy, it may be
considered the first popular success
of London's public stage. The play
was well received, but the violence
of the language and of the action
are serious faults.
The Jew of Malta
The Jew of Malta is a play by Christopher
Marlowe, probably written in 1589 or 1590. Its
plot is an original story of religious
conflict, intrigue, and revenge, set against a
backdrop of the struggle for supremacy
between Spain and the Ottoman Empire in
the Mediterranean that takes place on the
island of Malta. The Jew of Malta is
considered to have been a major influence
on William Shakespeare's The Merchant of
The Jew of Malta - plot
governor of Malta taxes the Jews
there, but Barabas, a rich Jew, refuses to
pay. His money and house are therefore
taken from him and in revenge he begins
a life of violence. He poisons his own
daughter, Abigail, and causes her lover to
die too. He helps the Turks and they
attack Malta, and so they make him
governor, but he decides to kill all the
Barabas’ final moments
arranges that the floor of a big
room can be made to fall
suddenly, and then invites them to
meal in it.
However, an enemy makes his
secret known and he himself is
thrown down below the floor into a
vessel of boiling water.
Tragical History of the Life and Death
of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to
simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play
by Christopher Marlowe, based on
the Faust story, in which a man sells his
soul to the devil for power, riches, and
Doctor Faustus was first published in
1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death
and at least twelve years after the first
performance of the play.
Faustus – plot
agrees to give his soul to the
devil, Mephistopheles, in return for 24
years of splendid life. The end of the
play, when death is near and Faustus is
filled with fear, is a highlight of terrible
One of the things Faustus asks the devil to
for him is to bring back from the dead the
beautiful Helen of Troy.
II is a Renaissance or Early
by Christopher Marlowe.
It is one of the earliest English history plays.
The full title of the first publication is The
Troublesome Reign and Lamentable
Death of Edward the Second, King of
England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud
found most of his material for this
play in the third volume of Raphael
Holinshed's Chronicles (1587). Frederick
Boas believes that "out of all the rich
material provided by Holinshed" Marlowe
was drawn to "the comparatively
unattractive reign of Edward II" due to the
relationship between the King and
elaborates, "Homosexual affection ...
has (as has been seen) a special
attraction for Marlowe. Jove and
Ganymede in Dido, Henry III and his
'minions' in The Massacre, Neptune and
Leander in Hero and Leander, and all
akin, although drawn to a slighter
scale, to Edward and Gaveston."