Tamburlaine the Great

Definition

Theater

  • A tragedy in blank verse by Christopher Marlowe, written in twoparts and first produced in London in 1587. It is based on the career of theMongol conqueror Timur Leng (1336 - 1405). The first part describes howTamburlaine, a Scythian shepherd, becomes king of Persia, goes on to defeatthe Turkish emperor Bajazet, and woos Zenocrate, daughter of theSultan of Egypt. In the second part of the play Tamburlaine "the scourgeof God" extends his conquests as far as Babylon, whose inhabitants heslaughters indiscriminately. He finally dies of a fever, with no sign ofweakness or remorse. The play was a huge popular success owing to its grandiloquentblank verse - incomparably superior to anything previously heard on the Englishstage - and its ruthlessly aspiring antihero.
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