Christopher Marlowe: Hero and Leander

(580 words)
  • Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University)

With all too many of Marlowe's works we are frustratingly sure that what has come down to us is not what he actually wrote. With Hero and Leander we are even more frustratingly unsure of whether that is the case or not. The poem tells the celebrated story of the love between the hero, Leander, and Hero, a priestess of Venus. The two live in different cities, Abydos and Sestos, which are separated from each other by the gulf known as the Hellespont. Leander swims across for a night of passion, but in so doing he attracts the attention of the sea-god Neptune, who makes advances to him which Leander, not really understanding what is going on, rejects. He breaks safely away, reaches Hero, and the two make love—and there the s…

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Hopkins, Lisa. "Hero and Leander". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]