SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2011
Marlovians Bite Back
by Peter Farey
A free e-book has just been made available by the
Stratford-upon-Avon based Shakespeare Birthplace
Trust, apparently prompted by the recent release of
Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous. Written by Rev.
Dr. Paul Edmondson and Prof. Stanley Wells, CBE, it is
called Shakespeare Bites Back and consists of most of
the same old arguments for the Stratfordian authorship
we have become so familiar with over the years, together
with the habitual contempt for anyone presuming to
question that belief. (Full article)
Our Belief is that Christopher Marlowe––in his day
England's greatest playwright––did not die in 1593
but survived to write most of what is now assumed
to be the work of William Shakespeare.
Our Plan is to present accurate information and
well-reasoned argument related to this belief.
Our Aim is to have this theory accepted by
Shakespearean scholars and others as the only
plausible alternative to the traditional "Stratfordian"
About this Website
In Michael Rubbo's film, Much Ado About Something, Prof. Jonathan Bate said that the so-
called Marlovian theory would make a great novel, and he was right. It would. In fact, it
was discovering what a marvellous story it was that got most of us interested in it in
the first place.
Christopher Marlowe, universally recognized as the greatest English poet/dramatist before
Shakespeare, was born the eldest son of a Canterbury cobbler. His precocious talent was
recognized at an early age, however, and he was accepted on scholarships first by the
prestigious King's School Canterbury and then Corpus Christi college in Cambridge as one of its
elite "Parker" scholars.
There, Marlowe started the two activities which he would follow for the rest of his life: writing
verse and working as a secret agent for the government. The verse was in the form of
translations from the classics, including some of Ovid's more erotic works, lyric poetry, and
plays in blank verse of a quality never seen before on the English stage.
His work as a government agent nearly cost him his M.A. degree, since he let it be believed that
he was planning to join the English College in Rheims, where Roman Catholics were trained and
ordained as Catholic priests with the aim of returning to England as subversives, even to engage
in plots to assassinate the Queen. Only a letter from the Privy Council––the most powerful men
in the land––ensured that the Cambridge authorities knew it "was not her Majesty's pleasure"
that young Christopher be denied his degree just because they were not aware of the "good
service" he had been doing on her behalf.
Marlowe's scholarship at Cambridge was intended to prepare him for a life in the church, but
his six-and-a-half years there had had quite the opposite effect. By the time he left he'd rejected
any form of organized religion––even claiming (it was reported) there is no God––and headed
for London with two plays in his pocket and a boundless (and well- justified) confidence in his
As luck would have it, his play Tamburlaine the Great provided a title role which precisely
matched the style in which the great actor Edward Alleyn excelled, and the partnership rocketed
both of them to "overnight stardom." This led to the stage's first "sequel," Tamburlaine Part
Two, followed by the still famous Doctor Faustus, the hugely popular Jew of Malta, and the
uncannily "Shakespearian" Edward II.
Although secret intelligence work by its very nature usually remains unrecorded, he was at one
point working in the Netherlands on anti-Catholic operations involving the counterfeiting of
Dutch and English currency. There is also the possibility that he was "planted" by the
government as a private tutor to Arabella Stuart, cousin of the future King James I and second
in line to the throne.
In his spare time he gained the reputation of being a "roaring boy," whose outrageous views and
acerbic wit won him quite a few enemies and even led to a sword fight on at least one
occasion. Most of all, however, he scoffed at people's religion, said that it had been created just
to keep men in awe, and that they shouldn't be afraid of "bug-bears and hobgoblins." He was
even suspected of having written a book which argued atheism and which was being used by a
seditious group who planned to replace the monarchy with an atheist state. A.L. Rowse also
called him a "raving homo," although such evidence as there is for this is ambiguous to say the
In May 1593, the thought police were closing in, and not even his past "good service" was
going to save him. Accused of having been responsible for some "vile heretical conceits" found
in playwright Thomas Kyd's rooms, he was hauled before the Privy Council, but released on
bail and required to report to them every day until they said otherwise.
The Councillors never did, because on 30th May, at a meeting in Deptford between him and
three men all known to be professional liars––and employed by his patrons both artistic and
political––he was killed "in self-defence" by one of them. An inquest was held two days later by
the Queen's own coroner, and the body was buried later the same day in the local churchyard––
nobody knows where––and left there to rot. Within a month the killer was pardoned.
But the body wasn't Marlowe's. A substitute corpse had been found, and the whole story told at
the inquest was a pack of lies. Marlowe was spirited out of the country and into exile, probably
in Italy, staying away for the next two years or so. When the news had grown cold, and when
his appearance had changed enough to risk it, he returned, being found safe places to stay
incognito amongst the various aristocrats of his acquaintance, or the stately homes of their
Meanwhile he continued to write plays; wonderful plays; plays which he was able to see
performed; plays and poems that would be presented as those of the actor and entrepreneur,
This Website is sponsored by onlinescam.net
Who was Christopher
Click here to read about Marlowe's life
Why do we think that
Marlowe did not die in 1593?
Click here to learn about what we call
"The Great Puzzle" of Marlowe's death.
Think the idea of a faked
death is unusual?
Click here to find out how common it
What do Shakespeare
scholars say about Marlowe?
Click here to read opinions about
Marlowe's influence in the Shakespeare
Is there a problem with
Click here to learn why we at the
IMSS are skeptical that Shakespeare
was a writer.
|"It is not for any man to measure . . . what it is
that Christopher Marlowe could not have done."
A.C. Swinburne 1880