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The Gift of Fire

Aggression and the Plays of Christopher Marlowe


Matthew Proser

Critics have complained that Christopher Marlowe's plays lack «wholeness» or «completeness». This book presents a fresh alternative to familiar textual explanations, or to psychological explanations that focus primarily on Marlowe's homosexuality. Instead, the author centers on Marlowe's aggressiveness as a disruptive force in his creative process, while discussing aggression's thematic implications in his major works. After a review of biographical data, aggression theories, and creative process theory, the study innovatively suggests that as Marlowe moved through his dramatic production he tried several strategies to control his aggression and channel it into his artistic process, thus giving increased, if imperfect, formal control to The Jew of Malta, Dr. Faustus, and Edward II.