Article Title

Ritual in Marlowe's Plays


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Jocelyn Powell has rightfully observed that critics have wrongfully made excuses for Christopher Marlowe's stagecraft in that they have failed to recognize his plays as drama of spectacle. They have failed to realize that in his plays he tried to fuse "the timeless and soul-searching of the morality with the relentless progress of the chronicle."1 They have failed to realize also that in making such fusion he pays most "careful attention to visual effects made by each scene in action, and contrives that the movement of actors, their properties, costumes and background against which they appear, shall combine to form a picture as representative as words."2 And only within the last decade have they noted that Marlowe integrates his pageantry with blank verse to set forth his ethical values objectively and not as if they were exempla in a sermon.3 These observations represent a part of the recent defense of Marlowe as an effective and sensitive stage dramatist, not a miscast lyric poet.4

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