Friday, 9 April 2010

On this day...

Timur the Lame, or 'Tamerlane' is said to have been born in 1336. The highly controversial Mongol leader, spent a successful lifetime conquering much of Western and Central Asia, founding both the Timurid empire and dynasty. Such a life seems to have all the facets of an enthralling drama, and indeed he was the inspiration for Christopher Marlowe's 'Tamburlaine the Great'.

Written in either 1587 or 1588, the play signifies the beginning of Elizabethan drama's golden age, demonstrating for perhaps the first time, the potential of blank verse in drama.Although arguably superseded by the late-Elizabethan and Jacobean tragedies, it is easy to see its influence in the works of Shakespeare, especially in the 'Henry' sequence. The play explores humanity and its potential in the face of power and so is often seen as having atheist overtones - a criticism often levelled at Marlowe himself. Performed by the Admiral's Men, the play gave famous renaissance actor Edward Alleyn his signature role.

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