26 February 1564 – Baptism of Christopher Marlowe

On this day in history, 26th February 1564, Christopher Marlowe, poet, translator and playwright, was baptised at St George’s Canterbury. Marlowe’s works included Tamburlaine, Dr Faustus, The Jew of Malta and The Passionate Shepherd to his Love. Marlovians believe that Marlowe was responsible for the works attributed to William Shakespeare.

Here are two clips from the same scene of Doctor Faustus, but different productions. The first is a clip from a 2010 production of Doctor Faustus performed at Greenwich Theatre and the second is the film starring Richard Burton as Faustus and Elizabeth Taylor as Helen of Troy. It is the scene where Mephistopheles has conjured up Helen to distract Faustus from his thoughts of repentance and to persuade him to keep his pact with Lucifer. It is a wonderful play.

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4 thoughts on “26 February 1564 – Baptism of Christopher Marlowe

  1. Hi, I was wondering – and this is quite unrelated really – but I read that after Catherine Howard was killed, Henry VIII passed a law that said only a virgin can marry the King. Is this true? Also then he married Catherine Parr, who was married twice before and so clearly not a virgin so did he make an exception for himself? When was this law abolished? Thanks!

    1. Yes, that’s right, Henry passed a law making it treason for a woman who was not a virgin to marry the King. This rather narrowed his choices of bride and obviously would put women off marrying him, but, as author and historian Elizabeth Norton points out, the sixth wife could be a widow, a woman who would not be expected to be a virgin, a woman who had lawfully given up her virginity to another man and so Catherine Parr, who had been widowed twice, was the perfect choice.
      I’m not sure when it was abolished, sorry!

  2. Richard Burton gets my vote as the better actor. He had an incredible voice. Elizabeth Taylor was a beauty in her prime.

  3. I have a book on Christopher Marlowe that I found in a charity shop, haven’t got round to reading it yet though…it’s called ‘In Search of Christopher Marlowe’ a Pictorial Biography by A.D.Wraight & Virginia F. Stern, anyone heard of it or read it?

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