One of the greatest English playwrights, Christopher Marlowe received the scholarly compliment of having long been considered the author of some plays now attributed to Shakespeare. Marlowe's remarkable inventiveness and powers of poetic expression enabled him to render his first play, Tamburlaine, the relatively new form of English blank verse, establishing the form for later Elizabethan dramatic writing. This heroic epic, his most ambitious work, was also the first genuine English tragedy.
Produced around 1587, the two-part romantic drama derives from the historical figure of Tamerlane (1336–1405), a Mongol warrior whose conquests and tyrannical rule extended from the Black Sea to the Upper Ganges. In Part I, Tamburlaine represents the best and most admirable qualities of the Renaissance man — his relentless rise to greatness, his ability to defy the odds and his determined pursuit of all life's possibilities. The first part concludes with the hero at the zenith of his powers, with vivid descriptions of his military victories and the passionate courting of a rival's captive daughter; in Part II, however, Tamburlaine's ambition overrides his better nature, and his greed and vanity ultimately lead to his ruin.
Ideal for classroom use, this volume will also be a welcomed addition to the libraries of anyone fond of English literary classics.