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Edward II by Christopher Marlowe
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Edward II

by Christopher Marlowe

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Showing 5 of 5
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2716447.html

I'm often a bit suspicious of today's commentators trying to project their own interests onto past writers, often scrabbling in desperation from scraps of other evidence. I don't think Marlowe was an atheist, though I do think he interrogates the role of religion in society more than some did; I don't think Faustus is a coded commentary on Calvinism, though Marlowe presumably had his views.

But I do think that Edward II is consciously intended and written as an anti-homophobic text. There is zero room for ambiguity about the nature of the relationship between Edward and Gaveston (and later between Edward and the younger Spencer). Edward and Gaveston confess their love for each other to anyone who is listening (and many who are not). The opposition of the nobles to Gaveston's presence in the court is entirely about style rather than substance; in other words, it's purely that they object to the King having a male lover, rather than any policy decisions made by the King or influenced by Gaveston (or Spencer).

King Edward, of course, is not perfect - he is besotted to distraction with Gaveston; he is clearly being used by the Spencers in the middle section of the play; the immediate cause of his downfall is carelessness and hubris. But he gets some tremendous closing speeches as he awaits death in Berkeley Castle, and the message is very clearly that he is a martyr, who did not deserve what he got for being who he was. When I explained to my son that Marlowe is unusual in his portrayal of same-sex romance for his homophobic time, he replied with a pertinent question: "Why didn't he get killed, then?"

"He did," I replied. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Dec 11, 2016 |
I am very fond of this play and the broad range of interpretations available based on how the actors interpret the roles. It's an incredibly versatile text, and the language of some portions is really beautiful. ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
I chose to read an online edition of this play for my Play Analysis paper for my Intro. to Drama class. Therefore, I am not talking about this exact edition, but am talking about the main work itself. This History/Chronicle play probably offered me the most compelling glimpse into a more controversial aspect of society of the time than any other ever has. That is, the way in which it deals with King Edward II's rumored bisexuality, his friends that are believed to have been his lovers, and so on. It truly is fascinating in the way that it is said without truly being said. The assassination scene is also incredibly epic, as it makes you stop and think to figure out what the method of killing is meant to be. Overall, it is a great example of drama from the era, without being Shakespeare. So, I definitely recommend it for anyone interested in drama of the period, or even just great drama in general. ( )
  TiffanyAK | Nov 24, 2013 |
remember nothing about it except i had to read it for college class ( )
  longhorndaniel | May 29, 2013 |
I love Marlowe. He was more popular than Shakespeare in his time, and his plays are more bombastic, more in-your-face, less subtle. Edward II is maybe Marlowe's most lurid, and it's my favorite. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Marloweprimary authorall editionscalculated
Forker, Charles R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, RomaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tancock, Osborne WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0713666692, Paperback)

Marlowe's play retains its power to shock even today, and this edition
gives full value to its three overriding themes of sexual favouritism,
political confrontation and sheer cruelty. Critics in the last twenty
years, who have focused on the overtly sexual relationship between
Edward and his favourite Gaveston, have hailed it as a 'gay classic';
earlier interpretations concentrated rather on the deposition by his
subjects of a weak king, reading it in tandem with Shakespeare's
Richard II. The introduction shows how the play works to give the
audience an equal emotional commitment to opposing points of view and
concludes that this is what makes Edward II such an uncomfortable and
challenging play.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"A historical play about Edward II, the King of England" --Provided by publisher.

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