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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Marlowe Inquest
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0131  Monday, 19 January 2004

[1]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Jan 2004 00:02:37 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest

[2]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Jan 2004 07:45:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest

[3]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Jan 2004 07:47:51 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest

[4]     From:   Philip Tomposki <
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        Date:   Sunday, 18 Jan 2004 23:05:11 -0500
        Subj:   RE: Marlowe Inquest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Jan 2004 00:02:37 -0800
Subject: 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest

I am intrigued to know how much Thomas, doubting gentleman that he seems
to be (sorry, I couldn't resist), will accept of the circumstances to
Marlowe's death.

Marlowe was a spy, yes or no? He was in a spot of hot water with the
Privy Council, yes? The other three gentlemen in the room with him were
also fellow members of the Elizabethan MI5, yes or no? And here's one
just to put the cat amongst the pigeons, he was gay, yes or no?

I, like Mr. Larque, am a great admirer of Charles Nichol's 'The
Reckoning' and I have somewhat of a vested interest in the subject as a
number of years ago I wrote a screenplay on what happened in that room
(my conclusions were and are almost identical with Mr. Nichol's version
of the story).

I look forward to your appraisal of the evidence.

-- Colin Cox Artistic Director Will & Company

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Jan 2004 07:45:25 -0500
Subject: 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest

One minor comment: I never realized anyone thought Marlowe attacked
Frizer while Marlowe was lying on his bed.  That makes no sense to me,
at all, so maybe I read that he was supposed to have and it didn't register.

I wasn't drunk when I wrote my last post to this thread, by the way, but
certainly made a lot of mistakes in it, even for me.  I didn't say
anything worth correcting, but since I'm here, will correct it, anyway.

 >>SNIP to:
 >>
 >>>my response was strictly technical. That
 >>>is, either there's something wrong with the coroner's report or there's
 >>>something wrong with my visualizing of it.
 >>>
 >>>If the former, that does not necessarily mean anything more than that
 >>>Frizer et al. testified in a way that exonerated them from any blame,
 >>
 >>Or that whatever happened was difficult to put into words, but that they
 >>did well enough in orally explaining what happened--as well, probably,
 >>as acting it out--to convinced the jurors they were giving a reasonably
 >>close approximation of what actually happened.
 >>
 >>>and that the coroner was happy to accept it even if it didn't quite make
 >>>sense (as suggested). If the latter, then I was concerned to get a
 >>>clarification.
 >>
 >>I find Philip Tomposki's explanation (from Nicholl) very persuasive.  I
 >>hadn't heard before that Marlowe was apparently thumping Frizer with the
 >>butt of his knife.  Didn't Nicholl describe it differently in the first
 >>edition of his book?  I also thought Marlowe was trying to stab him.
 >>But even that didn't contradict the coroner's report for me since who
 >>knows what might happen in some kind of fight like that: Frizer somehow

goes

 >>awkwardly for the knife, gets hold of it, is very strong and twists

Marlowe's arm enough to get

 >>the dagger pointing upward, the drunken Marlowe slips in a weird way,
 >>Frizer shoves the knife arm away and up, and it catches Marlowe just
 >>where it had to to kill him.
 >>
 >>It's a case by case sort of thing, it seems to me.
 >>
 >>Another point of disagreement that comes up is how long it would have

taken Marlowe to

 >>die.  I believe the coroner's report suggests it happened quickly but
 >>that experts say it should have taken longer.  Maybe the reverse.
 >>Anyway, I think NO coroners' reports are ever perfectly accurate, so
 >>there will always be details conspiracy buffs can have their kind of fun
 >>with (which is not to say that everyone who questions a coroner's report
 >>is a conspiracy buff).
 >>
 >>--Bob G.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Jan 2004 07:47:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0113 Marlowe Inquest

Thomas Larque writes, "...although I now have better things to do with
my spare time...."

OK: such as?

OK: Since Thomas Larque and I parried sword thrusts over our respective
interpretations of *Hamlet* and concepts of *spirituality*--I have
watched from the sidelines.  I have noticed that Thomas Larque's posts
are becoming more voluminous and longer and longer and well, I wonder he
has any "spare time" at all?

OK: I certainly do not have enough "spare time" to read his tomes,
although he is welcome to published them as long as Hardy entertains
them.  I just wonder: remembering my salad days at the *National
Enquirer* if he is getting paid by the *word*?

OK: back to the "ghost"!

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Tomposki <
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Date:           Sunday, 18 Jan 2004 23:05:11 -0500
Subject:        RE: Marlowe Inquest

Don Bloom writes:  "I can make all sorts of scenarios work if Marlowe is
standing or even crouching behind Frizer, but not if he is lying on his
back or side."

Yes, I agree.  It would be difficult to execute the attack lying down.
It is also difficult to imagine a practical configuration of the room
that would put the table close enough to the bed for the assault to take
place from there.  It's not hard to see how this concept came about,
however.    Leslie Hotson's translation of the Coroner's Inquest shows
two notations of Marlowe lying on the bed before the assault and never
has him rising.

Of course, the Inquest is hardly a bow-by-blow description and a good
many details are omitted.  I think Bob Grumman is dead on when he notes:
"Or that whatever happened was difficult to put into words, but that
they did well enough in orally explaining what happened--as well,
probably, as acting it out--to convinced the jurors they were giving a
reasonably close approximation of what actually happened."  After all,
why would these good Christian folk fuss too much over the death of a
queer, atheist poet.  As we civil servants say "close enough for
government work."

It should be noted that the Inquest was held before a jury of sixteen
local tradesmen, held in the room where the killing took place and had
Marlowe's naked boy on view.  Some convincing explanation must have been
offered.

There are probably any number scenarios that would work quite well
without doing injustice to the facts or requiring conspiracies.  Not
that I think everything that happened that day is as reported.  Given
the people involved (all associated with the English Secret Service),
the place (the Widow Bull's home was a Government safe house) and the
timing (just before Kit was to be arrested on capital charges), it
probably wasn't a simple social gathering.  What I don't buy is that
this was a murder, or at least not one done at the bequest of high-ups.
  As I said before, that could have been done more simply and discretely.

Philip Tomposki

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