Edward II Essay
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Throughout Edward II, Marlowe uses a variety of stimulating techniques to present the drama as a history play. Marlowe manages to use the tradition of the chronicle or history play and develop it further producing an extremely compelling, unique piece of work. It is a play which on one hand shows structural affinities with the chronicle plays, in that it has a stirring plot with a rapid flow of incident and plenty of variety while on the other hand it has points of contact with tragedy in its attempts to show on stage heart-rending scenes filled with passionate utterances, deep pathos and high tragic dignity.
This can be seen in Act four, scene two where the pace quickens as Marlowe deviates between countries. We see Edward receiving the news that Isabella, Mortimer, Kent and the young prince Edward are collecting an army in Hainault to attack on King Edward: ‘Ah villains, hath that Mortimer escaped? With him is Edmund gone associate? And will sir John of Hainault lead the round? Marlowe therefore states historical moments, which did actually occur, but real, human, affectionate feelings are also shown from Edward, which makes the drama so much more intriguing.
Also, in this scene the importance of Prince Edward continues to grow in a carefully controlled way. In the midst of Edward’s anger and warlike preparations, Marlowe now has him spare a moment to think kindly of his son, whom he describes as a ‘little boy’: ‘Ah, nothing grieves me but my little boy If thus misled to countenance their ills. ‘ Here, Marlowe shows the sentimental, humane feelings of Edward, human emotions we usually do not experience in history plays.
In Edward II it is therefore made clear that the characters not only sustain its plot but also carry the emotional burden of the play. He has struck a balance between a plot whose events are directed by its hero and one, which develops independently of him and reacts upon him. The historical evidence is presented in a form that is dramatic and vivid in our minds therefore producing a thought-provoking, emotional drama.