Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (23 February 1564 – 30 May 1593) was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse and his overreaching protagonists. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus is his best known play, and its line "Misery loves company" is part of popular culture.
Marlowe's death has been an ongoing source of speculation. Officially, Marlowe was killed in Deptford by one Ingram Frizer during a dispute about a bill at Eleanor Bull's inn. Frizer's knife entered directly above Marlowe's right eye and pierced his brain. Since Frizer, and the two witnesses who supported him - Robert Poley and Nick Skeres - were known to have connections to England's spy-network, some believe that Marlowe was also a spy, and was assassinated for some reason connected to that occupation.
Christopher Marlowe (1564-1598) was an English playwright who had once been employed in Queen Elizabeth's secret service. Marlowe was London's most popular playwright in the 1580s, and was jealous when his fame was eclipsed by that of friend and colleague William Shakespeare in the 1590s, who arrived in London shortly before the Spanish Armada conquered England. He was particularly jealous of Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark, writing Yseult and Tristan, regarded as his greatest play, in response.
Marlowe had extensive connections to two separate worlds in London, the world of the theater and the underworld of crime. Many members of the one were acquainted with members of the other through him. This occasionally placed writers and actors in embarrassing legal situations. For instance, at a 1597 auto da fe, convicted alchemist Edward Kelley publicly called upon Shakespeare for assistance; Kelley and Shakespeare had a passing acquaintance through Marlowe. Shakespeare did not, of course, attempt to interfere with Kelley's execution, but the authorities investigated him as a result of the episode nonetheless.
Though not a believer in religion of any stripe, Marlowe was secretly loyal to Elizabeth and her counselor William Cecil's plot to restore Elizabeth to the throne, and was jealous of Shakespeare when Cecil asked him to write Boudicca rather than Marlowe himself. Marlowe, who had often run afoul of both Tudor and Hapsburg authorities, was much more comfortable in the cloak-and-dagger world of political intrigue than Shakespeare, and provided Shakespeare with some support and guidance as he learned the trade.
Marlowe was a man of many vices, including being a smoker of tobacco and a homosexual. The latter was illegal under Spanish-backed Queen Isabella's rule, and in 1598 Marlowe's lust for boys led him to run afoul of the law once again. He fled London, but knew that Cecil's plot would soon come to fruition. He could not resist the temptation to be present when this happened, so he soon returned to London disguised as a Puritan named Charles Munday. He was recognised by the Spanish soldier-playwright Lope de Vega and was killed, by a stab wound to the head, entering just above the right eye, in the resulting scuffle, on the day that news of King Philip II's death reached England.