Digital Archives Initiative
Memorial University - Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2
menu off  add document to favorites : add page to favorites : reference url back to results : previous : next
 Search this object:
 0 hit(s) :: previous hit : next hit
  previous page : next page
Document Description
TitleViolence and the overreacher in the plays of Christopher Marlowe
AuthorCollins, Peter, 1964-
DescriptionThesis (M.A.)--Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1990. English Language and Literature
Paginationiv, 155 leaves.
SubjectMarlowe, Christopher, 1564-1593--Plays--Criticism and interpretation; Violence in literature
Degree GrantorMemorial University of Newfoundland. Dept. of English Language and Literature
DisciplineEnglish Language and Literature
NotesBibliography: leaves 148-155.
AbstractElizabethan scholarship has, for the most part, overlooked the importance of violence in the period's drama. Although recent scholarship displays an awareness of this glaring oversight, the study of Christopher Marlowe's use of dramatic violence remains, for the most part, limited to uneven commentaries, of no more than a page or two, in the major works of Marlovian criticism. The standard critical approach has been to dismiss the dramatic violence of his plays as either the regrettable product of a violent social milieu or the result of the influence of the violent Senecan and native dramatic traditions. -- The generally dismissive critical attitude towards violence in Marlowe's work and, by extension, in all Elizabethan drama, is clearly inadequate. I shall attempt to rectify this oversight by examining the use of dramatic violence in Marlowe's plays in order to show how thoughtfully the playwright employed violence for a variety of theatrical and thematic purposes. As a primary focus I will use the "overreacher, " a term originally coined by Harry Levin in his seminal study of power and aspiration in Marlowe's works, to illustrate how integral is the analysis of Marlowe's use of dramatic violence to the study of character and theme in his plays. -- In Tamburlaine: Part One Marlowe uses violent language to define an overreaching figure of incredible power and attraction, while in Part Two his increasing use of disturbing staged violence suggests a questioning of the overreacher's amorality. In The Jew of Malta Marlowe makes extensive use of comic violence to refashion a morality Vice within a Renaissance context. Here the exploitation of the comic aspects of violence (a common feature of the dialogue and stage action in all of Marlowe's plays) undercuts any negative audience reaction to the protagonist's crimes and even allows the audience to identify, to some degree, with the fantastically villainous Barabas. In Doctor Faustus the comic violence of the "eldritch" and "comedy of evil" traditions plays a vital role in depicting the degeneration of the Marlovian overreacher. With The Massacre at Paris and Edward II the overreacher has been debased from visionary to villain. In these plays Marlowe questions the overreacher's power and engenders sympathy for the pathetic Edward, despite his weak misrule of England, by portraying him as the hapless victim of the overreacher's violence.
Resource TypeElectronic thesis or dissertation
FormatImage/jpeg; Application/pdf
SourcePaper copy kept in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University Libraries
Local Identifier76058002
RightsThe author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
CollectionElectronic Theses and Dissertations
Scanning StatusCompleted
PDF File(22.97 MB) --
CONTENTdm file name248204.cpd