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Marlowe: Edward II

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Professor Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University) explores Christopher Marlowe's final play, Edward II. We begin by thinking about the theme of homosexuality in the play, arguing that while the relationship between Edward and Gaveston is perhaps the most well-known aspect of the play, it is Marlowe's interest in relationships in general – as opposed to the actions of a single, central character – that sets Edward II apart from his earlier work. After that, we explore about the idea of doubles or duplicates in the play, thinking not only about the several pairs of characters who share the same or similar names (e.g. two Spencers, two Mortimers, three Edwards and an Edmund, etc.), but also the ways in which the play might be 'paired' with later, Shakespearean drama – especially Hamlet. In the third module, we think about the concept of social mobility in the play, before turning in the fourth module to the folkloric, fairy-tale aspects of the play. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the motif of water in the play, focusing in particular on the various references to the Odyssey, the comparison of several characters to fish, and the various 'levels' at which one can understand the play.

About the Lecturer

Lisa Hopkins is Professor of English at Sheffield Hallam University. Her principal research interests are in Renaissance drama, especially Marlowe, Shakespeare and Ford. She is also interested in the influence of Darwin on fiction, adaptation, and the work of Bram Stoker. At the moment, she is completing a book on From the Romans to the Normans on the English Renaissance Stage. She is a co-editor of Shakespeare, the journal of the British Shakespeare Association, and co-editor of the Arden Early Modern Drama Guides.