Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine

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Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University)

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Few plays can ever have had so astonishing an impact as Tamburlaine the Great. Written while its author was still at university, it tells the more or less true story of the Scythian shepherd Timur the Lame, who rose by his own unaided efforts to become the monarch of half Asia. We first hear of him from Mycetes, King of Persia, who opens the play with the words

Brother Cosroe, I find myself aggrieved,
Yet insufficient to express the same,
For it requires a great and thundering speech:
Good brother, tell the cause unto my lords;
I know you have a better wit than I.

Mycetes’ admission of weakness might, in the hands of another author, …

1851 words

Citation: Hopkins, Lisa. "Tamburlaine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001; last revised 01 March 2021. [, accessed 07 February 2023.]

1740 Tamburlaine 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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