Christopher Marlowe, a popular playwright, and dramatist of the 16th century Renaissance England were known for his blank versus, mature writing and controversial themes. In his plays, he has used monologues as soliloquy or prologue to help his characters to relate to or express their thoughts directly to the audiences which are refreshing and a pleasure to watch.
Here are some of the most famous monologues of Christopher Marlowe.
A monologue from Dido, Queen of Carthage
Marlowe’s Dido is a modern woman and his only female protagonist. She is strong, powerful, and wealthy. She is a warrior princess who has rejected all his male suitors in the past but is bold enough to admit her love for Aeneas.
In Marlowe’s version of Dido, she is under Venus’s spell who hopelessly falls in love with Aeneas washed down by the shores of Carthage.
Dido is fiercely independent and does not need a man to guide her but when she realizes the power of love she succumbs to her passion and becomes obsessed with Aeneas.
In the monologue, Aeneas is about to leave Carthage in the darkness of the night and has boarded a ship to Italy leaving Dido behind.
Aeneas has only used Dido’s generosity and has never loved her from his true heart. When Dido gets the news, she is heartbroken and curses Aeneas for his betrayal.
The monologue is an exchange of speech between Dido and her warm-hearted sister Anna. Dido informs Anna that Aeneas is leaving Carthage but asks her not to curse him.
She promises to take back Aeneas as soon as he returns and she will give up her kingdom and lead a private life with him. She says to Anna how faithful she has been and that she will follow him wherever he goes.
She quotes ‘I’ll frame me wings of wax like Icarus’ and fly and melt under the hot sun only to fall into the arms of Aeneas or else she will play Arion’s harp and ride the back of a dolphin to reach her beloved.
At the end, when Dido realizes that she has been betrayed she ends her life by throwing herself into the pits of fire, her ultimate sacrifice and revenge against Aeneas.
Click here for the free pdf: Monologue from Dido, Queen of Carthage
A monologue from Doctor Faustus
The closing lines appear in Christopher Marlowe’s famous play ‘The Tragic History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus’.
Here the protagonist Faustus exclaims he is in the final hour of his life and has ‘one bare hour’ to live before his eternal damnation. A horrified Faustus urges the clock to stop and grant him a year, a month, a week, or even a day so that he can repent and save his soul. He further states that the holy blood of Jesus Christ is the only way to save his soul and asks Lucifer to spare him from the horrors of hell.
Faustus is afraid of God for the dreadful sins he has committed and stretches his arms and fears for the wrath of God who ‘bends his ireful brows’. He asks the mountain and hills to fall upon him and hide him away from God’s fury.
Faustus blames his fate for his evil outcome and says that his fate was written even before he was born. He wants to vanish like a foggy mist and ascend into heaven.
Click here for the free pdf full text: Doctor Faustus Monologue by Christopher Marlowe
A monologue from Edward II
This monologue is taken from Marlowe’s epic play Edward II and appears at the beginning of the play.
Here Gaveston reads out a letter he has received from Edward II stating that his father Edward I has died and he may return to the Kingdom.
Gaveston who was exiled by Edward I reads out the letter in delight as he is to be united with his dear friend Edward II.
He is pleased to return to London which he describes as an ‘Elysium’ or heavenly abode much so because he will be by the side of his beloved prince.
Gaveston further laments that the sight of the world, the men, and even London might seem unappealing to him, but he only favours the sight of the young prince and wants to die in his bosom. He proclaims his loyalty and love for the king and claims that he will only bow down for the king and no one else.
Click here for the full-text pdf: Monologue from Edward II
A monologue from Jew of Malta
This is a prologue the opening speech given by the soul of Machevil at the beginning of the play. He says that although he is dead to the world, his soul has crossed the Alps and entered the body of the Duke of Guise. He claims that his soul is immortal and will keep living in the body of the Duke who is dead.
Machevil has no regard for religion and considers it as nothing but a ‘childish toy’. He further adds that those who will follow him will be successful. He states that leadership is more important than knowledge of letters.
He finishes off his speech by saying that the sole purpose of his visit is to lament the tragedy of the Jews.
The full-text pdf is available here: Jew of Malta
Check out some of Marlowe’s famous monologues