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Daily History

May 30 1593 Christopher Marlowe killed in tavern brawl


On May 30th 1593, playwright Christopher Marlowe, 29, was killed in a brawl over a bar tab.

Marlowe, born two months before William Shakespeare, was the son of a Canterbury shoemaker. A bright student, he won scholarships to prestigious schools and earned his B.A. from Cambridge in 1584. He was nearly denied his master’s degree in 1587, until advisers to Queen Elizabeth intervened, recommending he receive the degree, referring obliquely to his services for the state. Marlowe’s activities as a spy for Queen Elizabeth were later documented by historians.

While still in school, Marlowe wrote his play Tamburlaine the Great, about a 14th century shepherd who became an emperor. The blank verse drama caught on with the public, and Marlowe wrote five more plays before his death in 1593, including The Jew of Malta and Dr. Faustus. He also published a translation of Ovid’s Elegies.

In May of 1593, Marlowe’s former roommate, playwright Thomas Kyd, was arrested and tortured for treason. He told authorities that “heretical” papers found in his room belonged to Marlowe, who was subsequently arrested. While out on bail, Marlowe became involved in a fight over a tavern bill and was stabbed to death.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “May 30 1593 Christopher Marlowe killed in tavern brawl

  1. Reblogged this on emmageraln.

    Posted by emmageraln | May 30, 2012, 15:14
  2. Sounds like Marlowe may have avoided torture by his premature death in a bar brawl, but I am more intrigued by his spying activities, what was he up to?

    Posted by tripwheels | May 30, 2012, 18:00
  3. … what a story … loved it – even if it’s a big tragic – at least he had a good time .. before he died.

    Posted by viveka | May 30, 2012, 23:56
  4. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as clean as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

    Posted by Russel Ray Photos | June 19, 2012, 11:10

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