Christopher Marlowe Facts

Here are some facts about Christopher Marlowe, the English playwright and poet who worked during the Elizabethan era.

  • Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury, probably in 1564. It is thought that he was born in the same year as William Shakespeare.

  • Marlow went to The King’s School in Canterbury and then he went to Corpus Christi College in Cambridge.
  • It is not known for certain how many plays were written by Marlowe, or the order in which they were written, but most historians would agree that Marlowe was the author of the following plays: Tamburlaine Part 1, Tamburlaine Part 2, The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus, Edward II and The Massacre at Paris.
  • Marlowe’s plays were very successful and they were often performed my the Admiral’s Men, with the actor Edward Alleyn playing the lead roles.
  • Christopher Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer during a fight that had developed following an argument about paying a bill. He was stabbed above his right eye.
  • Marlowe was buried in St Nicholas Church, Deptford in an unmarked grave on 1st June 1593.
  • Some people believe that Christopher Marlowe was a spy (working for Sir Francis Walsingham), and that his death was an assassination and not just a dispute that got out of hand.
  • Others think that Christopher Marlowe faked his death, changed his name to William Shakespeare and continued to write plays. However, most academics don’t believe that Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare are one and the same.
  • We will probably never know the exact details of Marlowe’s death because the chance of discovering new documents or other evidence that sheds more light on the events is very slim.

Learn more about Elizabethan theatre, or have a look at our Tudor resources page.