Tamburlaine The Great: Play - Summary and Analysis

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      Tamburlaine the Great (1587) was apparently Marlowe's first work for the stage and it may well be the most remarkable initial effort by any of the world's great authors. It is divided into parts I and II.

      The ruthlessly ambitious Scythian shepherd, Tamburlaine conspires with the general Theridames to overthrow the king of Persia. Tamburlaine makes his bloody way to the throne. Tamburlaine s beloved Zenocrate pleads for the sparing of her land and her father, but the merciless conqueror obliterates the country.

      In Part II, Tramburlaine's bloody conquests continue. He enters Babylon in a chariot drawn by defeated kings. He is, however, shaken by the death of Zenocrate and he orders an assault by his troops upon the powers of Heaven. How his all-conquering armies are helpless and Tamburlaine falls dead upon the tomb of Zenocrate.

Tamburlaine The Great

Critical Analysis

      Marlowe portrays the Renaissance hero. Marlowe was creating the prototype of the Renaissance egoist. This monstrous figure gains the sympathy and understanding of the audience because he is inspired by the intellectual pleasure of toppling the established order. Tamburlaine is consumed by the Renaissance worship of unattainable beauty. Part II underlines the horrible futility of all his power-seeking. All ten acts sweep with epic and lyric strength. As a drama, it is ill-constructed. It is a series of loosely connected scenes. Tamburlaine is the dominating character. He is an over-reacher.

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