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Shakespeare and Marlowe (Non-credit)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Shakespeare was hugely indebted to the transgressive genius of Christopher Marlowe. This course will study great plays by Marlowe and the responses and imitations produced by Shakespeare: Edward II and Richard II; The Jew of Malta and The Merchant of Venice; Tamburlaine and Henry V; and finally Dr Faustus and Macbeth.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

1. Marlowe’s first triumph: Tamburlaine pts 1-2 (late 1580s).

2. Marlowe redefines the historical play: Edward II (c.1591-2).

3. Shakespeare attempts the Marlowian style: Henry VI pt 1 (c.1593).

4. Marlowe, metaphysics, and the devil: Dr Faustus (c.1592-3).

5. Shakespeare creates a political devil: Richard III (c.1593).

6. Marlowe tale of greed, otherness and persecution: The Jew of Malta (c.1592).

7. Shakespeare tackles the same themes: Titus Andronicus (c.1593-4).

8. Shakespeare moves beyond Marlowe, a new voiceon the Elizabethan stage is born: Two Gentlemen of  Verona (c.1593-4).

Teaching method(s)

Discussion based seminars.

Learning outcomes

 By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of Shakespeare in the context of his times;

  • Discuss the way he reacted to contemporary politics;

  • Show an awareness of the influences on Shakespeare and the uses he made of them;

  • Share opinions of plays studied and develop academic argument in writing and orally.


Core Readings


  • Shakespeare, William. 2011. The Complete Works. London, Arden.

  • Marlowe, Christopher. 2003. Complete Plays. London, Penguin.


  • Sanders, Wilbur. 1968. The Dramatist and the Received Idea: studies in the plays of Shakespeare and Marlowe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Greenblatt, Stephen. 1980. Renaissance Self-Fashioning. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Web Sources

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.