Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: David Bevington

Christopher Marlowe: the quintessential Renaissance man

Christopher Marlowe was born in February of 1564, the same year as Shakespeare. He was the son of a Canterbury shoemaker, and attended the King’s School there. With fellowship support endowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, young Marlowe matriculated at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge University in 1580 and received the BA degree in 1584.

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Sexuality in Shakespeare’s plays and poems

In Shakespeare’s comedies, sex is not only connected to marriage, but postdates it. Prospero in The Tempest insists to his prospective son-in-law that he not break the “virgin-knot” of his intended bride, Miranda, “before / All sanctimonious ceremonies may / With full and holy rite be ministered,” lest “barren hate, / Sour-eyed disdain, and discord . . . bestrew / The union of your bed with weeds so loathly / That you shall hate it both” (4.1.15-22).

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