Events Calendar
Nov 22 - Dec 13
10:30 - 12:30
'Dead Man in Deptford': The Life and Works of Christopher Marlowe
Short courses

4 weeks: 22, 29 November; 6, 13 December

Fridays: 10.30 – 12.30

Course code: 19TON402

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Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564, making him an exact contemporary of William Shakespeare. He was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day until his early and mysterious death in 1593. 

This course looks at four of his best-known works, examining their themes and the circumstances surrounding their production. We will start with Tamburlaine the Great, loosely based on the life of a 15th century Asian Emperor. Written in around 1587, the play marks a milestone in Elizabethan drama. The precise sequence of his other plays is uncertain, but all deal with controversial themes. We will look at The Jew of Malta, a story of religious conflict, intrigue and revenge and considered to have been a major influence on Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice; Doctor Faustus, based on the German stories of Faust, and Edward II, an English history play about the deposition of the titular king. Our examination of the texts will be focused on theme, characterisation, structure and poetic language, while maintaining an interest in the circumstances of their production and staging.

Required reading

Week 1: Tamburlaine the Great

Week 2: The Jew of Malta

Week 3: Doctor Faustus

Week 4: Edward II

Additional information 

This course allows you to spend time exploring a subject for interest, among like-minded people, without formal assessment.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • engage with a selection of plays by Christopher Marlowe in their socio-historical context.
  • examine the themes of the plays and the circumstances surrounding their production.
  • develop a more general understanding of early modern theatre.
  • interpret literary texts in a critical way, illustrating arguments with carefully chosen examples.
  • demonstrate knowledge through the construction of critical arguments and present and defend those arguments.

About the tutor

Sarah Anthony studied for her Masters degree with the Open University specialising in postcolonial nineteenth century literature. For the last 12 years she has taught undergraduate students and adult learners in courses ranging from Shakespeare to the postmodern. She currently teaches for the University of Kent and the WEA.


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