The Irony of Identity: Self and Imagination in the Drama of Christopher Marlowe

By Ian McAdam | Go to book overview

3
Tamburlaine the Great: Tenuous Godhood

As SUGGESTED AT THE END OF THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER, TAMburlaine is a compensatory figure for the weak and uncertain Aeneas. Since Aeneas’s failure is in part due to an absence of satisfactory masculine idealized self-objects, Marlowe’s response, under the influence of Hermetic writings, is to create a character who egoistically asserts this ideal from within himself. In terms of the striving toward adequate manhood, the movement from Dido to Tamburlaine reflects an “important rule” Kohut draws attention to: “When [potentially] higher forms of adaptation fail, then the grandiose self emerges.”1 The result is that while Tamburlaine represents an artistic advance over Dido, it is also in some ways a psychological regression. Tamburlaine becomes a kind of God, a self-creating being, who seems to enjoy absolute confidence and absolute rhetorical control, but his divinity is in fact a pathology that, to borrow Kohut’s terms, takes the form of a relentless exhibitionistic perversion. This perversion involves a constant manipulation of self-objects by the protagonist so that they mirror his own grandiosity. Tamburlaine’s self-assertions might therefore be termed, in a clinical sense, not healthy but essentially pathological. However, we are of course not dealing with a patient undergoing psychotherapy but one of the most important historical moments in the history of English theater, and I am left, like my critical contemporaries and predecessors, striving to explain why a play “executed … in bold, broad strokes … episodic in structure, occasionally stupefying in the monotonous pitch of its rhetoric, indelicate in its avowed appetites and immoderate in its gratification of them”2 nevertheless remains a deeply impressive and obsessively fascinating work of art.

Like Dido but to an even greater extent, the two parts of Tamburlaine constitute an extremely controversial play,3 what Catherine Belsey calls “a notoriously plural text.”4 Mulryne and Fender

-73-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Irony of Identity: Self and Imagination in the Drama of Christopher Marlowe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Irony of Identity - Self and Imagination in the Drama of Christopher Marlowe 3
  • Contents 7
  • Acknowledgments 9
  • The Irony of Identity 11
  • 1: Introduction 13
  • 2: Dido Queen of Carthage: Tenuous Manhood 44
  • 3: Tamburlaine the Great: Tenuous Godhood 73
  • 4: Doctor Faustus: the Exorcism of God 112
  • 5: The Jew of Malta: the Failure of Carnal Identity 146
  • 6: The Massacre at Paris: the Exorcism of Machevil 175
  • 7: Edward Ii: the Illusion of Integrity 198
  • 8: Conclusion 232
  • Notes 247
  • Bibliography 271
  • Index 279
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 284

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.