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The Power Of Human Nature In The Works Of Christopher Marlowe

2226 words - 9 pages

Ian ParkerENGL 165Marlowe EssayThe Power of Human Nature in the Works of Christopher MarloweChristopher Marlowe was one of the first poets to give rise to the age of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. A contemporary of other famous playwrights William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Marlowe's work is of a similar poetic brilliance. His subject matter and themes however, are often more challenging and complex than those found in the works of other playwrights of his era. Marlowe's plays and non-dramatic poetry have a subversive quality that is difficult to define. Marlowe's motivations are often unclear, as regardless of how deeply one looks into his works, it is difficult to tell how seriously he takes his subversion. With most characters and themes found in his work, there seems to be both a socially acceptable and a more dangerous explanation for what he wants the reader to understand. Some critics see his work as being an attempt to argue against and undermine the social order of the time, while others argue that the amount of subversion is vastly overstated.In Marlowe's plays, there are many different parties that he pokes fun at., most importantly the major institutions of social control such as government and organized religion. He also attempts to argue against ideas prevalent in society which do not necessarily come from these institutions, such as marriage, the denouncement of promiscuous sex, and perhaps homophobia. He achieves these arguments through his characters, and does not leave the feeling of a heavy-handed authorial message being put forth. While this makes it somewhat unclear exactly how strong Marlowe's personal stance against these issues was, there exists a very strong connection between the arguments, from which a personal ethos for Marlowe can be understood.Marlowe's attacks on various institutions, especially government and religion, seem not to be aimed specifically at what they stand for, but the residual effects of social control they create. For example, his attacks on organized religion are not aimed at religion itself, and his attacks on government are not because he does not believe that people should be governed in some way. The problem, in Marlowe's eyes, seems to be the way that these institutions are used to control the way people think and live. He finds these institutions at fault for creating a society in which people live, usually voluntarily, at odds with their own human nature. Marlowe seems to argue that human nature, in its raw and almost animalistic state should be the goal and the purpose of life. His central characters often exhibit this nature, which is at odds with many accepted social mores. They crave power, revenge, sexual fulfillment, and fun, and they pursue these ends in ways that society deems unacceptable. Marlowe's work, in a way, is a rallying cry for people to shed their allegiance to the regulations of social control and live according to their human nature.Marlowe was very much influenced by...

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