Much of Marlowe’s life would have brought much controversy. Christopher was reputation as a spy, a continuous blasphemer, a tough street-fighter and an openly gay homosexual did not let a lot of people love him. Although the fight that resulted in his death is the only situation where there is evidence of Marlowe assaulting a person, he had a history of trouble with the law. Marlowe was arrested in London dating September 1589 following a brawl in which Thomas Watson killed a man named William Bradley. The jury found that Marlowe was not involved with William’s death and Watson was found to have acted in self-defense. In September 1592 in Canterbury, he was charged with damaging property.
The other accusations of Marlowe being a homosexual or an atheist has no inconclusive evidence to prove these statements. My personal opinion, I think that Marlowe was accused of being gay and an atheist and accused being the key word. There are too many instances where people were accused of something during this time and killed over it. For example, the witch hunts that killed thousands of women after the Dark Ages. All because people were lead to believe that women could fly on brooms. So it is not far stretched to think that Marlowe may have been persecuted against for some trouble that he might have been linked too. These questions might never be answered.
Marlowe was above all an admired artist for his time in the literary world. Within weeks of his death, George Peele referred to him as “Marley, the Muses’ darling.” Marlowe’s last name is actually another question. He was referred by different versions of his last name: Marl, Marlowe, Marley, and Merle. But the meaning of Muse is actually Greek mythology. The Muses were Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science. People did not understand why someone could be so gifted at one thing and not the other so it must have been the gods that blessed man with these gifts. Not to say that George Peele worshiped the Greek gods but he is only admiring Christopher Marlowe’s talents.
As far as Christopher Marlowe’s career is considered, his work was glorified after his death. Obviously no one knew of the impact that his writing would have on English literature and the influence it would have on Shakespeare’s play writes. Shakespeare mastered blank verse after Marlowe introduced it into theatre. But even so, critics of his time recognized his talents. Robert Greene (1560?-1592) says “…who hat said with thee, There is no God, should now give glorie unto his greatnesse.” It is in that line that gives proof that people immediately recognized his talents.
Modern Criticism defiantly did what Robert Greene and glorifies his talents as well as his life. Today’s critics also make some outrageous assumptions about Christopher. But for such little knowledge on someone and so many speculations in his life, people cannot help but to be intrigued with the man’s career. Christopher Marlowe…A man who has no certain last name. A man who was incognito during a certain point of his life. A man believed in being a spy. A man who was a street fighter. A man who was believed to be a homosexual. A man who was believed in being an atheist. A man who was trouble with the law. A man who introduced blank verse to theatre. A man who faked his death. Christopher Marlowe is a man of unanswered questions, but what is for certain is his impact with the English language.
Jonathan Bate. “Danger down in Deptford The murder of Christopher Marlowe continues to fuel conspiracy theories, says Jonathan Bate. ” The Sunday Telegraph 23 Oct. 2005, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 27 Jun. 2010.
Jeffrey Meyers. “Marlowe’s Lives. ” Michigan Quarterly Review 42.3 (2003): 468. Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web. 27 Jun. 2010.
Ed. Judith O’neill. Critics on Marlowe. Florida: University of Miami, 1970.
Ed. Emily C. Bartels. Critical Essays on Christopher Marlowe. Florida: University of Miami, 1997