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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Mercutio = Marlowe
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0902  Monday, 12 May 2003

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 9 May 2003 13:14:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?

[2]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Friday, 09 May 2003 15:06:02 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?

[3]     From:   Jan Pick <
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        Date:   Friday, 9 May 2003 23:13:20 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe

[4]     From:   Lisa Hopkins <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 May 2003 13:14:33 +0100
        Subj:   Marlowe and Mercutio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 9 May 2003 13:14:37 -0500
Subject: 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?

Tue Sorensen writes,

>Mercutio is endlessly punning on "stab". Instead of simply reading this
>as bawdry, can one not make the argument that Mercutio is supposed to be
>a portrayal of Marlowe, who by the time Romeo and Juliet was written had
>recently been stabbed to death? In fact, might one not go so far as to
>suggest that the relationship of Romeo and Mercutio is a detailed
>description of that of Shakespeare and Marlowe? This seems to make a lot
>of sense to me. Even if it is the case, the exact degree of detail is of
>course subject to speculation. Could Shakespeare have been present in
>the very tavern; in the very brawl where Marlowe met his end?

Since there exists far too little evidence to bring this even into the
realm of possibility, I should probably let this proposal go. Still, I
wonder about the kind of person it would make WS out to be. We have
three ideas presented: (1) WS and CM were close friends after the
fashion of Romeo and Mercutio; (2) WS used the character of Mercutio to
portray CM; (3) WS not only used the stabbing to death of Mercutio to
remind the audience of parallel stabbing of his good friend, but also
made a lot of bawdy puns about it during the play.

I don't dispute that there are people who would do such a cold, callous
and despicable thing as to make the death of a good friend the occasion
of public entertainment and ribald laughter. But I hope WS wasn't one of
them.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Friday, 09 May 2003 15:06:02 -0700
Subject: 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?

>"Does anyone know if a connection between Mercutio and Marlowe has been
>suggested before? I have not come across the idea thus far."

There is a long history of Mercutio being Marlowe, certainly amongst
actors.  I have played the part several times and always am struck by
the sense that this is Christopher Marlowe. As a director, I always
instructs the actor playing Mercutio to study Marlowe's life. I have
converted quite a number to the belief that Mercutio is Marlowe by this
process.

I also believe that Rosalind is Marlowe; no mere coincidence she's the
only female character with an epilogue.

I wrote a screenplay on Marlowe's life and work and have a ton of
'circumstantial' evidence (isn't it all circumstantial in the end?)
about Marlowe being Mercutio if you're interested.

Cheers,
Colin Cox

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jan Pick <
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Date:           Friday, 9 May 2003 23:13:20 +0100
Subject: 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0895 Mercutio = Marlowe?

It occurred to me on my MA Shakespeare course just a few weeks ago -
ideas obviously travel through the ether!

Jan

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lisa Hopkins <
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Date:           Monday, 12 May 2003 13:14:33 +0100
Subject:        Marlowe and Mercutio

No, Shakespeare could not have been present at the brawl where Marlowe
met his end, and he is unlikely to have been elsewhere in the house
because it was not a tavern.  The coroner's report makes it perfectly
clear that the only other people in the room besides Marlowe were
Nicholas Skeres, Ingram Frizer, and Robert Poley.

I have seen somewhere the suggestion that there is a connection between
Marlowe and Mercutio.  I'm afraid I can't recall exactly where, but I
think it may have been in Joseph A. Porter, 'Marlowe, Shakespeare, and
the Canonization of Heterosexuality', South Atlantic Quarterly 88:1
(1989), pp.127-147.

Lisa Hopkins
Sheffield Hallam University

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