Marlowe and Prayer
: The Forgotten Sources of the Mighty Line
Keywords:marlowe, faustus, mighty line, prayer, christianity
This article argues that Marlowe's persuasive dramatic poetry, the admired but also ridiculed “mighty line,” is closely related to Marlowe's theological training in general and to prayer in particular. The conventions of sincere prayer alluded to in the Good Angel’s line to Faustus in II.i.16 seem deliberately to be pitted against the friars’ traditional or “Catholic,” prayer-like incantation to expell him. Why there has been little focus on this aspect of Marlowe’s grounding in biblical style is hard to tell, especially when there has been such interest in contemporary theological issues in general. This may be so because of Marlowe’s preference for daring topics and because of his reputation as a “reckless” young man about town and a figure associated more readily with the spectacular accusations launched by Robert Greene or John Baines, than with his years of study in theology and related subjects at Corpus Christi in Cambridge.
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