Marlowe’s “Agonists”: An Approach to the Ambiguity of His Plays
by Christopher G. Fanta
Harvard University Press, 1970
Paper: 978-0-674-55060-5
Library of Congress Classification PR2674.F3
Dewey Decimal Classification 822.3

In his closely argued essay Christopher Fanta maintains that the ambiguity in Marlowe's plays may well result from the duality of Marlowe's thought. Fiery protagonists like Tamburlaine, who are bent on overpowering the limitations of society and nature, are set against what Fanta terms the "agonists": a handful of minor, virtuous characters who by their actions and interaction with the hero express Marlowe's "other," muted voice. Fanta analyzes five "agonists": Zenocrate and Olympia in Tamburlaine, Abigail in The Jew of Malta, Prince Edward in Edward II, and the Old Man in Dr. Faustus.

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