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The Destruction of Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe

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posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 11:25 AM
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On a spring day in 1593, the Privy Council issued orders to arrest the authors of “divers lewd and malicious libels” directed against immigrants living in London. The following day, Thomas Kyd was arrested, his writings ransacked, through which was found writings inimical to the dogma of the church/government (one and the same at that time). Under torture, and during and a time which Kyd later alluded to as “bitter times and privy broken passions,” Kyd accused his colleague, friend, and former roommate Christopher Marlowe of authoring the heretical work. (In the papers, the author contended that the Son of God is subordinate to the Father, thus committing a grave offense of the day by denying the Trinity.)

I’ve been to an old prison turned museum in London which showed the conditions of the cells and displayed some of the torture methods used by authorities, and am not surprised that Kyd accused Marlowe of “being a blasphemous traitor, an atheist who believed Jesus Christ was a homosexual.”
www.encyclopedia.com...
en.wikipedia.org...

Kyd was eventually released, robbed of his vitality. Once a celebrated playwright who is now highly regarded as an essential figure in the development of Elizabethan Drama, he died in disregard and outcast by the church. He was 35. Even his grave was lost when the church and yard where he was laid to rest was destroyed by fire.

I couldn’t help cross-referencing this history with the fictional 1984. The idea of breaking a man through torture for ideas, to the point which he is forced to betray those he cares about is evident in both. I would hate to live in a society where one is arrested and broken due to “dangerous” ideas and think we have to be really careful where our society is headed (speaking to the choir here, I know).

Marlowe, meanwhile, was brought to the Privy Council to face the consequences of his blasphemous ideas and was awaiting the determination of the council when a widely speculated drunken brawl ended his life. Some of the theories surrounding his death:


Jealous of her husband Thomas's relationship with Marlowe, Audrey Walsingham arranged for the playwright to be murdered.[52]
Sir Walter Raleigh arranged the murder, fearing that under torture Marlowe might incriminate him.[53]
With Skeres the main player, the murder resulted from attempts by the Earl of Essex to use Marlowe to incriminate Sir Walter Raleigh.[54]
He was killed on the orders of father and son Lord Burghley and Sir Robert Cecil, who thought that his plays contained Catholic propaganda.[55]
He was accidentally killed while Frizer and Skeres were pressuring him to pay back money he owed them.[56]
Marlowe was murdered at the behest of several members of the Privy Council who feared that he might reveal them to be atheists.[57]
The Queen ordered his assassination because of his subversive atheistic behaviour.[58]
Frizer murdered him because he envied Marlowe's close relationship with his master Thomas Walsingham and feared the effect that Marlowe's behaviour might have on Walsingham's reputation.[59]
Marlowe's death was faked to save him from trial and execution for subversive atheism


The generally agreed-upon version is that Marlowe was drinking in the company of three men who had all at one point been employed by the same family (courtiers to Queen Elizabeth) when he fell to arguing over the bill, grabbed a knife of the nearest and stabbed him for which he was fatally stabbed in return.

In any case, just imagine the mindstate of the playwright: awaiting a sentence from the brutal authorities, outed by his former friend and roommate, having already served prison time for a previous drunken argument (so perhaps this was indicative of a pattern of dangerous behavior), now drinking with three known associates to the crown.

It’s a fascinating tale, but should also serve as a warning to those who want to stifle the thoughts of creatives/artists (or comedians), or who want to insist that certain ideas are dangerous and that those who adhere to them should be at the mercy of the state within which lies the power to determine what ideas undermine the fabric of society.

Additional Sources:
en.wikipedia.org...
en.wikipedia.org...(literary_patron)
edit on 1-9-2019 by zosimov because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 12:42 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

Still happening today Id wager. Epstein your muse on this one?

Thomas of Becket has a similar bent. Originally being a drunken lecherous best friend of the King. He took his appointment as Arch Bishop seriously and changed his ways.

That same friend and King killed him in his own cathedral via a handful of armored assassins.



posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 01:06 PM
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originally posted by: BlueJacket
a reply to: zosimov

Still happening today Id wager. Epstein your muse on this one?

Tbh, Epstein doesn't inspire me to anything but disgust. But I do understand the correlation.

My muse is more derived from a recent revisit of Brave New World, 1984, Farenheit 451 and wondering which, if any of these, most resembles the more dystopic elements of western society today.

I do agree that it might be best not to regard stories like this as "history," neccessarily.



posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 01:28 PM
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originally posted by: zosimov

originally posted by: BlueJacket
a reply to: zosimov

Still happening today Id wager. Epstein your muse on this one?

Tbh, Epstein doesn't inspire me to anything but disgust. But I do understand the correlation.

My muse is more derived from a recent revisit of Brave New World, 1984, Farenheit 451 and wondering which, if any of these, most resembles the more dystopic elements of western society today.

I do agree that it might be best not to regard stories like this as "history," neccessarily.


Sounds like you might enjoy "A Canticle for Lebowitz" but I'll wager you already have!



posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 01:37 PM
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a reply to: olaru12

Hi there olaru, and thanks for the excellent suggestion!
Interesting- I encountered that name recently and had determined to give it a read but it slipped my mind.
The title alone is quite attractive to me.
Now I definitely want to check it out.




posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 01:52 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

Amiga, thanks for the inspiration!!! How does a contemporary western version screenplay strike you. "Marlowe and Kyd"
Loosely based on your classic rendition. Be a challenge to cut it down to 90 min.

I better get this outlined and a written treatment into WGA before my competition steals it....!!!




edit on 1-9-2019 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 02:14 PM
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a reply to: olaru12

That is an awesome idea. I love it.

Funny enough, I thought about how interesting it would be to try to write a play on the subject (especially for the fact that it's a story about playwrights).

You would be the perfect one to take that idea and make it great.





posted on Sep, 1 2019 @ 02:49 PM
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Funny enough, I thought about how interesting it would be to try to write a play on the subject (especially for the fact that it's a story about playwrights).
a reply to: zosimov

Please write it. We have a wonderful alternative playhouse here that would love it!!

www.auxdogtheatre.org...



posted on Sep, 2 2019 @ 09:50 AM
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a reply to: olaru12
Thanks, olaru, you know I do want to give it a try!
It's quite a task, to do it right, and I have a lot of studying to do.
It looks like I was wrong on some of the details-- for one, Marlowe had seen the council and had been told to report to an officer.

The constant rumors of Christopher Marlowe's atheism finally caught up with him on Sunday May 20, 1593, and he was arrested for just that "crime." Atheism, or heresy, was a serious offense, for which the penalty was burning at the stake. Despite the gravity of the charge, however, he was not jailed or tortured but was released on the condition that he report daily to an officer of the court.


www.biography.com...

Also... very interesting period in Marlowe's early life when he worked in the service of the Queen:

Marlowe earned his bachelor of arts degree in 1584, but in 1587 the university hesitated in granting him his master's degree. Its doubts (perhaps arising from his frequent absences, or speculation that he had converted to Roman Catholicism and would soon attend college elsewhere) were set to rest, or at least dismissed, when the Privy Council sent a letter declaring that he was now working "on matters touching the benefit of his country," and he was awarded his master's degree on schedule.


I was also off on the family which had at one point employed all three men Marlowe was with the night he died. From the same source quoted and linked above

all three men were tied to one or other of the Walsinghams--either Sir Francis Walsingham (the man who evidently recruited Marlowe himself into secret service on behalf of the queen) or a relative also in the spy business.

Enjoy the holiday!!!

edit on 2-9-2019 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 7 2019 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: olaru12

This has been so fun just to try... I am so glad I'm giving it a shot.

I'm doing the very opposite of the tack you were considering-- I'm bringing us back from modernity to Marlowe and Shakespeare's day by writing my play in blank verse (Marlowe was one of the first to do this well-- it's basically iambic pentameter and is rhythmic like a sonnet line) and invoking a Muse and having a choir too like ancient Greek drama.

I have barely started and it's very slooow going but I am so happy with the results so far.
It's one of those endeavors that is worth the effort just to say to oneself-- I've done that.


Hope you're having a nice weekend!!!



posted on Sep, 9 2019 @ 10:06 AM
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a reply to: zosimov




It's one of those endeavors that is worth the effort just to say to oneself-- I've done that.


Copy that...

Thanks, My week end was involved in a project where I said "I did it" ....feature film, 80 page script, 156 scenes, all actors were theater,not film, LA director, all shot on gopro cameras, in 3 days. Experimental, avaunt garde, a very exhausting but satisfying experience.

Could you send me a little teaser of your play?




edit on 9-9-2019 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2019 @ 12:44 PM
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a reply to: olaru12

Interesting weekend, olaru!

Sounds like a fun and creative project.

Also I'd love to send a teaser. I'll put one together and then PM you.





edit on 9-9-2019 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



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