"And shall I die, and this unconquered?": Marlowe's Inverted Colonialism
Lisa Hopkins
Sheffield Hallam University

Hopkins, Lisa. "'And shall I die, and this unconquered?': Marlowe's Inverted Colonialism." Early Modern Literary Studies 2.2 (1996): 1.1-23 <URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/02-2/hopkmarl.html>.

  1. Critical attention has often been drawn to Christopher Marlowe's choices of exotic, far-flung locations for the adventures of his heroes, and also to the ways in which Marlowe's fictional world intersects with actual Renaissance geographical discoveries and attitudes. Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta and Dido, Queen of Carthage are not only set abroad; they all dramatise (or, in the case of Doctor Faustus, pointedly allude to) that typical Renaissance act, colonisation.[1] In this essay, I want to focus on two linked, and richly suggestive, elements of Marlowe's depiction of what it is like to travel "in another country"--the first is the plays' emphasis on female as well as male experiences and values and, the second, their reversal of the processes normally inherent in the possessing colonialist gaze--to make it clear that the alien object at which we think we stare in fact reflects us back to ourselves, and illuminates the stranger within us.

  2. In the prologue to the first part of Tamburlaine the Great we are immediately informed of Tamburlaine's racial origin: he is a Scythian. In Elizabethan ideology, the term Scythian demarcated an absolute otherness, a being so sharply inferior to civilised Western man that his very membership of the same species was open to doubt:[2] it is, for instance, on the grounds of their supposed descent from the Scythians that Spenser effectively advocated genocide as the optimal attitude towards the Irish.[3] It is, therefore, perhaps surprising that the two lines which follow this fixing of Tamburlaine's racial identity proceed to describe him in terms which are by no means automatically negative: "Threatening the world with high astounding terms, / And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword."[4] In performing these two acts, he is demonstrating excellence in exactly the fields--linguistic and military--most highly privileged in the cultures of those same classical civilisations which first demonised the Scythians as other. Even more surprisingly, however, we are then expressly invited to "View but his picture in this tragic glass." What does the glass show--him, or us?

  3. The image of the "tragic glass" suggests, above all, a mirror, and, as J.S. Cunningham points out, "effects of mirroring [are] germane to the Tamburlaine theatre."[5] One of the play's sources was George Whetstone's The English Mirror,[6] and the play is full of references to mirroring, imaging and reflecting.[7] Tamburlaine instructs Techelles to "Lay out our golden wedges to the view / That their reflections may amaze the Persians" (I.ii.139-40), and refers to "immortal flowers of poesy, / Wherein, as in a mirror, we perceive / The highest reaches of a human wit" (V.ii.103-5); he also images the corpses of Bajazeth and Zabina as a mirror which reflects his own power (V.ii.415). It is only fitting that the play in its entirety should thus offer itself in its Prologue as glass to its audience, a fearful inversion of the customary Mirror for Magistrates.

  4. If the play functions as a mirror, then what the audience will see in it is its own reflection; superimposed on the features of the barbarian Scythian will be those of the burghers and apprentices who frequented English playhouses[8]-- all the more obviously since, when it comes to the major aspect of his career, the depiction of his prowess in warfare, "the armies and tactics described in Tamburlaine are, except in a few superficial details, neither oriental nor early fifteenth century as historical realism would require."[9] Thus begins the astonishing process whereby the play forces us into a radical identification with what, in theory, we most condemn, and at the same time sharply critiques a fundamental aspect of English Renaissance culture, the colonial enterprise, by completely inverting the perspective from which it is viewed.[10]

  5. Marlowe himself would have been aware of the development and ramifications of imperialist colonialism as practised by the English; as Thomas Healy remarks, Tamburlaine coincides almost exactly with the first edition of Hakluyt's Voyages, and the world the playwright depicts is typically that of the exoticism and abundance figured in travel narratives.[11] Marlowe's cousin, Anthony Marlowe, was the London agent of the Muscovy Company, and partly on the basis of this, Richard Wilson has recently argued convincingly for a close relationship between Marlowe's portrayal of Tamburlaine, particularly with regard to his weaponry, and the "Heliogabalus" and "right Scythian," Ivan the Terrible.[12] Moreover, Marlowe was, notoriously, a member of the circle of Sir Walter Raleigh, who was involved not only in the practice but also in the ideological apparatus of colonialism: Raleigh punned on the contemporary pronunciation of his own name as "Water" to insert himself into the mythology of Elizabeth I as a creature intimately bound up with the sea and with tides, governed by the queen herself whom he cast as "Cynthia," the moon goddess, controller of the tides. Raleigh also reveals an acute sense of the inherent gendering of power relations in the act of colonising, revealed not only in his choice of female names for the lands he claimed but also in his use of metaphors such as "Guiana is a country that hath yet her maidenhead." Marlowe's own involvement with Elizabethan intelligence-gathering networks, whatever its actual nature may have been, would also have placed him at the forefront of attempts to implement Elizabethan foreign policy, so much of which hinged on relations with the archetypal colonialist power, Spain, which laid claim to large tracts of the New World. Closer to home, Spain was also running various Italian duchies as puppet states, and--as Doctor Faustus reminds us, and as Marlowe's own time in Flushing would have brought home to him--forcibly occupying the Netherlands. The main thrust of English foreign policy was to frustrate Spanish attempts to overrun or politically subjugate England.

  6. That Marlowe was interested in the questions of colonialism, foreignness, and the relation of different nationalities to one another is suggested by the first of the heresies reported against him by Richard Baines: that "the Indians and many authors of antiquity have assuredly written above 16 thousand years agone, whereas Adam is proved to have lived within 6 thousand years."[13] Such an interest is also apparent throughout his work. All of his plays except one, Edward II, are set abroad--two, Doctor Faustus and Tamburlaine, in more than one country; and many of them also involve heroes, or other characters, who are foreign visitors or residents. The Massacre at Paris has two English lords and an English agent; Edward II ironically pits the foreign Gaveston against the equally foreign queen, and temporarily banishes Gaveston to that perennial site of colonial struggle, Ireland; The Jew of Malta boasts a whole complement of invading Turks as well as the inherently exiled Jew himself (the Knights themselves are also not indigenous inhabitants but of foreign origin); and Dido, Queen of Carthage features the man who in many ways can stand for the ur-coloniser, Aeneas. Running through all of these works is an concern with alienness, with the viability of normative perspectives, and with the problematics of the relationship between personal and national identities. And equally strongly running through all of them is a refusal to maintain the demarcation between the self and the other, the foreign and the domestic. As Emily Bartels argues, "what makes Marlowe's plays stand out . . . is that their foreign worlds are not only 'Englished'; they make a point of that Englishing."[14]

  7. In the case of Tamburlaine, his Scythianness and, concomitantly, his otherness, is the one fixed element of a life during which we see him traverse countries and change from shepherd to king to corpse, and from bachelor to husband to widower. Wherever he goes, he is always racially different from those amongst whom he finds himself; his close lieutenant, Theridamas, is a Persian, and his wife, Zenocrate, an Egyptian, and thus even his three sons are only half-Scythian. We never see his parents: only Usumcasane and Techelles have been with him since the beginning, and they are dramatic nonentities--the only one of the three lieutenants to achieve a scene to himself is Theridamas, and then only when he features in the Olympia story. Indeed, one of the notable elements of Tamburlaine's career is the marked racial prejudice he consistently encounters, which leads both Persians and Turks to despise and prematurely dismiss him. It is perhaps partly in response to this that he embarks on his career of subjecting other lands to his dominion.

  8. The means by which he does so exhibit significant parallels with the English colonial enterprise, as Richard Wilson observes: "it cannot be chance that Marlowe's epic of 'the rogue of Volga'. . . should project what Burghley described as "the great end of dealing with the Muscovite: discovery of a passage into Asia."[15] There are other similarities. One marked element of Marlowe's plays is the exuberant sprinkling of exotic, alien names--a feature strongly emphasised by Antony Sher's Tamburlaine in the most recent RSC production. They fill up the mighty line with rolling syllables which convey little but a sense of glamour. This would be very close to the English linguistic experience of the New World. In the vast majority of locations to which English explorers and traders ventured, they were not the first comers: the Spaniards, preceding them, had already exercised the privilege of Adam by allotting names, so that little opportunity remained for the imposition of a coherent English world-view on what they encountered. In Tamburlaine, this sense of an inability to order the world through language is pronounced, because the audience's inability to decode the myriad place-names, leading us to perceive them only as random collections of syllables, means that very few of them acquire any real solidity or sense of specific location. They blend into each other, and our sense of Tamburlaine's actual achievements is apt to melt away as we experience repetition rather than movement or progression: "nomenclature is ceaselessly revised,"[16] a process in which Tamburlaine himself will be fully participatory as he calls "provinces, cities, and towns, / After my name and thine, Zenocrate" (IV.iv.85-6).

  9. An even more striking relationship between the imperialism of Tamburlaine and that practised by Marlowe's contemporaries, however, is their opposed goals. The first scene of the play offers an instance of a predatory world in which norms of exploitation and dominance have been reversed, as Cosroe laments:

    But this it is that doth excruciate
    The very substance of my vexed soul,
    To see our neighbours, that were wont to quake
    And tremble at the Persian monarch's name,
    Now sits and laughs our regiment to scorn;
    And that which might resolve me into tears,
    Men from the farthest equinoctial line
    Have swarm'd in troops into the Eastern India,
    Lading their ships with gold and precious stones,
    And made their spoils from all our provinces.
    The change from quaking to laughter in Persia's neighbours has come close to effecting a similar change in Cosroe himself, who is on the verge of womanish tears at the thought of "Men from the farthest equinoctial line." A telling encapsulation of those whom the aliens find alien, this line also encodes a chilling suggestion of relativism into the colonial experience: the location of "the farthest equinoctial line" depends, on a round planet, on where one is standing. Since Cosroe's lament is immediately followed by Menaphon's advice that he should undertake "the curing of this maimed empery" (I.i.126) by the invasion of Greece, we may well imagine that, for Cosroe, "the farthest equinoctial line" is the one which he envisages when he looks towards Europe. We are, indeed, the Other's Other.

  10. The reference to Greece is given added point by Meander's earlier classification of Tamburlaine as advancing on Persia "with barbarous arms" (I.i.42). Meander's unimpeachably Greek name underscores the original meaning of the word "barbarian" as one who speaks no Greek (though, ironically, Tamburlaine will very soon prove himself completely at home in deploying the discourse of Greek mythology and culture, while Mycetes will have to consult Meander about the legend of the dragon's teeth [II.ii.51-2].) The classical culture of the Persian court is again evident when Mycetes almost immediately afterwards terms Meander "a Damon for thy love" (I.i.50). Soon after, though, Mycetes adjures Meander to return "smiling home, / As did Sir Paris with the Grecian dame" (I.i.66), thus figuring his friend as a Trojan, and Menaphon's advice to Cosroe to invade Greece is coupled with an invocation of the Persian Cyrus, a subtle reminder that those who are so anxious to label Tamburlaine as a barbarian are in fact the literal descendants of those to whom that term was once most accurately applicable. It is not only the geographical coding of Otherness that is revealed as reversible; the very terms of civility and barbarism are here exposed as culturally relative, and the same game will be played when the Soldan of Egypt enters saying "Methinks we march as Meleager did" (IV.iii.1)--one man's Greek is another man's Egyptian. Moreover, the Soldan, like Meander earlier, sees Tamburlaine as "sturdy" (IV.iv.12), a word which, as Mark Thornton Burnett point out, encodes, for an Elizabethan audience, specifically English resonances, being habitually used for the description of English beggars.[17] Thus the Greekish Egyptian virtually forces us into a position of identification with Tamburlaine here in national terms (although his language would also work to underline the difference of Tamburlaine's "class" position).

  11. English adventurers apparently saw themselves as moving from the civilised to the savage, enlightening the natives as they went. The language used to describe Tamburlaine here may make him briefly reminiscent of a wandering Englishman, but his epic journeys have a reversed teleology, for not only could the advance of a Scythian be read as a self-evident triumph of barbarism, but he also originates in the East--so radically demonised in English Renaissance culture--and advances steadily ever closer to the West: as he says, "So from the East unto the furthest West / Shall Tamburlaine extend his puissant arms" (III.iii.246-7), until his imminent death reduces him to mere speculation on "what a world of ground / Lies westward" (Part Two, V.iii.146-7). Before that, he has threatened to get very close to home indeed, "Keeping in awe the Bay of Portingale, / And all the ocean by the British shore" (III.iii.258-9). Interestingly, however, this is not presented in the play as a threat. The direct menace to Western civilisation is, as always embodied by the Turks, and they are disadvantaged by Tamburlaine's expansionism, since he diverts "the force of Turkish arms, / Which lately made all Europe quake for fear" (III.iii.134-5), and, particularly in Part Two, dramatically relieves the pressure on Christendom's beleaguered frontiers.[18]

  12. As well as his open designs on "the British shore," Tamburlaine is also metaphorically associated with two crucial figures in the histories both of colonisation and of Britain. At an early point in his career, he directly compares himself with a previous invader of Britain when he says "My camp is like to Julius Caesar's host" (III.iii.152). Mention of Julius Caesar recurs in Doctor Faustus, where the beauties of Rome in fact turn out to depend in part at least on the conquered spoils "Which Julius Caesar brought from Africa" (III.i.43).

  13. Doctor Faustus is a text which is saturated, paradoxically, in both the language of colonialism and the language of resistance to it. Faustus' initial desire for power is characterised precisely as a desire for physical dominion--"All things that move between the quiet poles / Shall be at my command"[19]--and he wants to "fly to India for gold" (I.ii.84), reminding us of the fabled wealth of the Indies which both fueled and motivated Spain's colonial expansion. Spanish aggression in the Low Countries, of which Marlowe's time in Flushing would have given him direct personal experience, bulks large in the play: Faustus resolves to expel Emperor Charles V's general, the Prince of Parma, from the Low Countries (I.ii.95), and the Emperor even makes a personal appearance, but when Faustus summons up for him the ghost of Alexander the Great our principal sense is of the ephemerality of conquest. This is radically multiplied in the B-text when Alexander is seen defeating the previously victorious Darius, just as we learn that Faustus means to expel Parma not from patriotism, but because he himself plans to "reign sole king of all our provinces" (I.ii.96), and to possess "the seigniory of Emden" (II.i.23). Faustus will become that which he seeks to defeat, an idea which is repeated in Valdes' enticements to him that he will be treated "As Indian Moors obey their Spanish lords" (I.ii.123). Faustus, like Tamburlaine, dreams of mastering the map as he fantasises that "I'll join the hills that bind the Afric shore / And make that land continent to Spain" (I.iii.109-110).

  14. But in another inversion, Faustus is himself the unwitting victim of an act of such colonisation, as the boundaries of the world-map are redrawn indeed and, at the head of his invading army, Mephistopheles can proclaim "Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it" (I.iii.78), and explain that Lucifer also seeks to "Enlarge his kingdom" (II.i.40). Once again, as hell and earth dissolve and blur, as human motivation is revealed to be the same as diabolical, and as Faustus moves from opposition to the Spanish forces to the performance of conjuring tricks for the Emperor, the most pronounced sense is of a failure to maintain oppositions of difference, and of an inversion of the structuring polarities of civilisation and savagery.

  15. The Prince of Parma, Alessandro Farnese, effectively shares a name with Ferneze, the Governor of Malta who bests Barabas. If Marlowe's first play, Dido, Queen of Carthage, staged an originary moment of colonialism, The Jew of Malta represents the process as so far advanced that it is barely possible to identify a truly indigenous inhabitant of the much-invaded island of Malta. The Jew is multiply alien: as Barabas, he is the polar opposite of the Christianity which theoretically categorises Marlowe's own audience; as a Jew, he is radically demonised; as a denizen of Malta, he is seen in English eyes as belonging to the farthest fringes of the Christian world, constantly contaminated by contact with the Turk, and in the eyes of the indigenous inhabitants of the island as a suspect resident alien. His behaviour in the play apparently matches well with these stereotypes: he is a monstrous egotist, a mass murderer, crazed by the desire for money and power. Nevertheless, it is apparent not only that his villainy is easily matched by both his Turkish and his Christian opponents, but also that it has been taught to him specifically by a European, Machiavelli. Moreover, his plan for wiping out the convent is a direct parallel to a scheme proposed by another European, the same Richard Baines who was later to accuse Marlowe of atheism, who while a student at the English College at Rheims formed a plan to eliminate the entire seminary by poisoning its well.[20] Once again, the use of an alien environment and an alien protagonist serves only to throw into starker relief the internality rather than the externality of otherness.[21]

  16. The second figure with whom Tamburlaine is compared is, significantly, Aeneas (V.ii.319). Marlowe had already depicted the activities of this ur-coloniser in Dido, Queen of Carthage, a play in which it is even more explicitly Europe which is being colonised, this time by an Asiatic Trojan.[22] Dido, which itself performs a sort of act of colonisation of Virgil's Aeneid, dramatises many of the archetypal processes of colonisation in general and of English Renaissance colonialism in particular: the coloniser's self-justification and sense of divine mission, the involvement with (and subsequent desertion of) a native woman, and the eventual eruption of violence. The traditional pattern of classical epic adventure voyage, on which the Aeneid itself is based, has its heroes radically modifying the environments which they encounter, almost always through violence: Polyphemus is blinded, the Harpies caged, the Gorgon beheaded. Dido, Queen of Carthage follows this pattern to the extent that a native--as so often, a female one--dies; the ending, however, is slightly unexpected, in that instead of the coloniser triumphing through superior skill and force and subduing the alien culture, he is himself altered by what he finds there, to the extent that by the end of the play the apparently daring adventurer turns tail and runs, not even daring to say farewell. Although this is the actual ending of the Dido and Aeneas story, and as such an inevitable given in Marlowe's choice of narrative, nevertheless the episode Marlowe has chosen to dramatise shows the ur-coloniser conspicuously failing in his role.

  17. Firstly, he falls victim to that common fate of Renaissance explorers, landing in the wrong country. He then not only fails to subjugate it, but very nearly becomes subjugated in his turn, as we see him tempted by the most feared of all downfalls of colonisers, the urge to go native. His son--the emblem of his future--is immediately swept away by Dido to be brought up in her entourage; and he himself, in a bizarre and suggestive conceit, is to be dressed up in the clothes and ornaments of Dido's late husband Sychaeus, a dramatic drawing attention to what the woman wants. Aeneas' status as erotic object of Dido's possessing gaze is repeatedly underlined, as she tells her sister Anna "none shall gaze on him but I" (III.i.73) and affirms that "His glistering eyes shall be my looking-glass" (III.i.86). It is only divine intervention (again controlled by a female figure, his mother the goddess Venus) which eventually saves Aeneas, and which packs him off to Italy at the end of the play having gained precisely nothing and having forfeited both time and, I would imagine, the sympathy of the majority of the audience. This first of all colonial enterprises is seen in the most unglamourous of lights.

  18. In the Tamburlaine passage, Philemus, after comparing Tamburlaine with Aeneas, goes on to figure the Arabian king as Turnus, resisting this Asiatic invader with designs on Europe. This doubly encodes a wave of westward invasion, since Aeneas' grandson Brut, celebrated by Layamon, would later arrive in Britain. Aeneas is the founder of Rome, and thus, in a major sense, the founder also of Marlowe's Britain--mythically, through Brut, and historically, both through the literal Roman conquest of the island and the metaphorical conquest of its literary allegiances by classical learning. To reveal him as inept is a damning reworking of a potent myth of origins; to cast Tamburlaine as an Aeneas overpowering the King of Arabia's Turnus is, once again, to show us a sharply focused image of the Scythian in the mirror.

  19. Tamburlaine himself may be readily branded by many of those he encounters as a savage, but he is also seen to be related very closely to Marlowe's audience: indeed T.M. Pearce has argued that "he was Marlowe's conception of the soldier-poet or scholar-warrior in the mold of the Italian courtier described by Castiglione,"[23] and suggests that we should read him within the context of Humphrey Gilbert's scheme for "a military academy designed to provide England with young Tamburlaines."[24] Additionally, perhaps, his fondness for Zenocrate would serve to align him with the uxoriousness for which London citizens were soon to become so famous in comedy, and what seems his most fundamentally barbarous act, the stabbing of Calyphas, is, ironically, most easily understood within the cultural context of those arch-colonisers, and ultimate authorisers of Renaissance civilisation, the Romans: "its source . . . may be found . . . in the story of the Roman consul, Manlius Torquatus, who slew his own son for disobeying orders."[25] Even Tamburlaine's appearance would be familiar: not only would he be recognisably Edward Alleyn, but also, instead of the cloak which was normally the trademark of the Scythian, Tamburlaine sported the thoroughly Western garb of "a coat with copper lace" and "breeches of crimson velvet."[26] The very lists of names which apparently serve to signal Tamburlaine's exotic origins can serve equally to position him within the western epic tradition of the list. Moreover, the use of the signature "Tamburlaine" appended to the Dutch church libel, a virulently anti-immigrant poem found affixed to the wall of the Dutch churchyard, paradoxically positions Tamburlaine as an endorsement, indeed an embodiment, of English xenophobia. As suggested in the prologue, he is indeed the Scythian who is us: "Marlowe's eastern world is a mirror that transcends mere orientalism. What we see reflected, of course, are English privateers such as Hawkins: the founders of the so-called Honourable [Muscovy] Company."[27]

  20. The westward trajectory of his travels, then, is not only not seen as menacing, but can function as an emblem for the narrative trajectory by which the apparently unbridgeable gap between Tamburlaine and his audience gradually shrinks throughout the plays. This is especially so in Part Two, where the Scourge of God is seen as a harassed single parent subject to illness and mortality; and by the end of his story his singularity and otherness have vanished as he falls prey to the most basic common denominator of all. The Scythian in the glass is us, and this is brought home by the speech of Theridamas in Part Two, when he tells Tamburlaine:

    I left the confines and the bounds of Afric,
    And made a voyage into Europe,
    Where, by the river Tyras, I subdu'd
    Stoka, Podolia, and Codemia;
    Then cross'd the sea and came to Oblia,
    And Nigra Silva, where the devils dance.
    Of all the curious place-names and exotic descriptions in the plays, I find this the most evocative; and yet this is in Europe (and also threatened by Theridamas, as the Canaries and Gibraltar have been by Usumcasane). Reversing the direction of the gaze has made Europe strange.

  21. One way in which Europe is strange to most of the characters in the Tamburlaine plays lies in their conception of the continent as gendered. The normal gendering processes of the colonialist imaginary often proceed on an implied equation between feminisation and subjugation, casting the land as a feminine space to be "husbanded" by the incoming colonist: Raleigh named his colony Virginia.[28] In Tamburlaine Part Two, Orcanes specifically tropes Europe as a woman: she is "fair Europe, mounted on her bull" (I.ii.42). The bull who husbanded Europa was Jove, with whom Tamburlaine is so often compared, so that the allusion once more underlines the westward trajectory of his conquests; but it also underlines the plays' quiet but insistent interest in the intersection between colonialism and gender. Their use of foreign settings serves primarily to point up the similarities between those who are apparently opposites, and the principal means by which such similarity is established is to portray both sides as equally bad. There is, however, a group of striking exceptions to this general depiction of all parties as evil, and this is the plays' female characters.

  22. Dido, Zenocrate, Olympia and Abigail are all distinguished by an apparently limitless capacity to love. Dido immediately establishes herself as the kindest of stepmothers in her devotion to young Ascanius; Zenocrate feels not only for Tamburlaine and for all three of her sons but for her father, her neglected suitor, and the virgins of Damascus, and Zabina, though haughty, is unshakeably loyal to her husband; Abigail loves Mathias and, even when she has lost all respect for her father, still refuses to betray him. Olympia is in some ways the most interesting of all, for not only is she devoted to her husband and son but, although she is a woman of Soria, her classical name is matched by her adherence to the values of classical civilisation, so highly privileged in the Renaissance, when with stoic fortitude she first kills her son and then unflinchingly engineers her own death. Even Faustus wants a wife, and reserves one of his most disinterested acts for the pregnant Duchess of Vanholt.

  23. The plays' ventures into the countries of the other thus invert familiar norms in two ways: not only is the other fundamentally the same, but foreign women, usually perceived as doubly alien through their twin deviancies of race and gender, are presented to us as the repositories of the dual values of love and honour which are the keynotes of the two major influences on European thought, Christianity and classicism respectively. Just as the westward trajectory of Tamburlaine's conquering march runs counter to the normal logic of east-facing colonialism, so the narrative logic of these three plays locates civilised modes of behaviour only in the one place where the cultural prejudices of the audience would have made them least likely to look for it: the barbarian woman.[29]


    1. Although A Massacre at Paris is also set abroad, it, like Edward II, deals with civil war, rather than confrontations between different nations, and I shall therefore not be discussing it here.
    2. For some interesting comments on the casting of the Scythians as other, see Stephen Greenblatt (Marvelous Possessions 124-5).
    3. On the relation between Scythianness and Irishness here see Sales (56-7) and Hopkins.
    4. Christopher Marlowe, The Complete Plays (ed. J.B. Steane, 105). All quotations from the plays will be taken from this edition unless otherwise indicated.
    5. Marlowe (ed. J.S. Cunningham, Tamburlaine the Great, "Introduction" 66).
    6. See Thomas and Tydeman (90-2). For commentary on the use of mirror imagery elsewhere in Marlowe, see Summers; on Renaissance mirror theory in general, see Greenblatt (Shakespearean Negotiations 8).
    7. Note also Stephen Greenblatt's discussion of the use of Scythians as mirroring figures in Herodotus, for "the discovery of the self in the other and the other in the self" (Marvelous Possessions 127). Greenblatt acknowledges his debt here to the work of Francois Hartog in The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History.
    8. Crewe comments that "Marlowe makes the 'Scythian'--i.e., the conventionally barbarous in Elizabethan terms--not merely oppose but paradoxically represent cultural norms, thus reestablishing a 'lost' or eclipsed state of perfection" (52).
    9. See Kocher (207).
    10. For comment on Tamburlaine as a text concerned with colonialism, see Belsey (29).
    11. See Healy (44). Healy's chapter on "The World on the Stage" is very suggestive. Similar points about the relationship of Marlowe's work to actual travel are made by William Zunder (15).
    12. See Wilson (47-8).
    13. This is both quoted and discussed in Nicholl.
    14. See Bartels (15).
    15. Wilson (50).
    16. Wilson (51).
    17. See Burnett.
    18. At the beginning of Part Two events draw nearer to us not only geographically but also chronologically: John D. Jump notes in his edition of the play that the historical episode of Christian treachery postdates this stage of Tamburlaine's career by about forty years ("Introduction" xiv).
    19. Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus (ed. David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen, I.ii.58-9). All further quotations from the play will be from this edition, and reference will be given in the text. The edition contains both the A-text and the B-text; unless otherwise stated, all my quotations are from the A-text.
    20. Nicholl (124).
    21. Stephen Greenblatt remarks that "despite all the exoticism in Marlowe--Scythian shepherds, Maltese Jews, German magicians--it is his own countrymen that he broods upon and depicts. As in Spenser, though to radically different effect, the 'other world' becomes a mirror" (Greenblatt, "Marlowe and the Will to Absolute Play" 193).
    22. Modern criticism (with the exception of Shepherd [95, 201-2]) has had little to say about the colonial implications of Dido, but Shakespeare was clearly alive to them when in his own treatment of the subject, The Tempest, he deliberately placed Claribel as the lone European in the capital city of "the Widow Dido."
    23. See Pearce (18).
    24. Pearce (22).
    25. Kocher (223).
    26. Nicholl (202).
    27. Wilson (57).
    28. See, for instance, Smith (71-6, 83), where Marlowe's Aeneas is briefly discussed.
    29. For a suggestion that the figure of the foreign woman operates very differently, and as a marker of even greater strangeness than the foregin male, within a text which may also be identified as closely concerned with colonisation, see Relihan (174).

Works Cited

Responses to this piece intended for the Readers' Forum may be sent to the editor at EMLS@UAlberta.ca.

© 1996, R.G. Siemens (Editor, EMLS).
(August 14, 1996)