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Book Title: Edward the Second|
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Reader ratings: 5.7
The author of the book: Christopher Marlowe
Edition: The Project Gutenberg
Date of issue: January 7th 2007
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 675 KB
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I wish I could love Edward II. Not only is its treatment of passionate male friendship unique in Renaissance English Drama, but its plotting is exemplary, its rhetoric disciplined, its imagery restrained, and—perhaps its greatest achievement—it expertly summons a coherent historical vision, calling forth the essential events from a myriad of incidents in order to convey a few hard political truths. In addition, not only did Marlowe’s portrait of a weak, self-indulgent monarch inspire Shakespeare’s characterization of Richard II, but his method of using history showed his fellow playwright the way, making possible not only the three great Henry plays but the Roman plays as well.
Still, there’s nothing here to astonish me, as Doctor Faustus continually does, no grand rhetoric, like that of Tamburlaine to stir me like a big bass drum, no Machiavellian monologues from Barnabas or the Guise to horrify me with a smile. Marlowe the dramatic technician may triumph, but it is Marlowe the poet and evil genius I love, and I see little of him in Edward II.
I’ll conclude with a little of that poetry--and a touch of that evil genius-- I did see here. Piers de Gaveston, the friend and favorite of King Edward, describes the pleasures and pageantry he will use to intoxicate the heart of the king.
I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits,
Musicians, that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant king which way I please:
Music and poetry is his delight;
Therefore I'll have Italian masks by night,
Sweet speeches, comedies, and pleasing shows;
And in the day, when he shall walk abroad,
Like sylvan nymphs my pages shall be clad;
My men, like satyrs grazing on the lawns,
Shall with their goat-feet dance the antic hay;
Sometime a lovely boy in Dian's shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides
Crownets of pearl about his naked arms,
And in his sportful hands an olive-tree,
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring; and there, hard by,
One like Actæon, peeping through the grove,
Shall by the angry goddess be transform'd,
And running in the likeness of an hart,
By yelping hounds pull'd down, shall seem to die:
Such things as these best please his majesty.
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Read information about the authorChristopher "Kit" Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564) was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own mysterious and untimely death.
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