Christopher Marlowe: life and background
Christopher Marlowe was born in 1564, the same year as William Shakespeare, but he was killed in 1593, aged 29, as a result of a brawl in a tavern at Deptford, just outside London. In the mêlée he was stabbed in the eye and the wound proved fatal. This sordid incident, said to have arisen as a result of a quarrel about the settlement of the bill, brought to a premature end the life of a playwright whose brilliance dazzled and excited his Elizabethan audiences. The killing, however, was surrounded by some mystery. We know that two weeks before the Deptford incident a warrant had been issued for Marlowe’s arrest and more recent investigations carried out by Leslie Hotson (The Death of Christopher Marlowe, 1925) reveal that about a month later Marlowe’s assassin, Ingram Frizer, received a Queen’s pardon, asserting that the killing had been in self defence. There was no post-mortem or trial. It has been suggested that the murder of Marlowe was a pre-arranged political assassination. For some reason the authorities wanted Marlowe silenced.
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