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Tamburlaine

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,593 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
From one of England's greatest playwrights, a remarkably inventive and poetically expressive work that set the form for later Elizabethan dramas. The 2-part romantic tragedy focuses on Tamburlaine — a Mongol warrior whose relentless rise to greatness and power, together with his enormous greed and vanity, culminates in his eventual downfall.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 27th 2002 by Dover Publications (first published 1590)
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Romeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareA Midsummer Night's Dream by William ShakespeareThe Prince by Niccolò MachiavelliMuch Ado About Nothing by William ShakespeareUtopia by Thomas More
Best Books of the 16th Century
34th out of 81 books — 344 voters
The Complete Plays by Christopher MarloweEdward II by Christopher MarloweDoctor Faustus by Christopher MarloweThe Complete Poems by Ben JonsonVolpone and Other Plays by Ben Jonson
Shakespeare's Contemporaries
22nd out of 100 books — 18 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Alex
Jun 04, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
It's the old rags to riches story, really - real America. An ambitious man, born with no spoon in his mouth, rises to power through sheer brilliant audacity. Spoilers follow: He even manages to marry the daughter of a rival of higher social class, after overcoming that rival. He's domineering, ruthless, abusive. He loves his wife but has no concept of her own desires; he thinks of her as a trophy. She was always ambivalent, and eventually she wastes away and dies. He's enraged:
The ceaseless lamp
...more
Sammy
Aug 29, 2011 Sammy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre
"The god of war resigns his room to me,
Meaning to make me general of the world."
- Tamburlaine (Part One, Act 5, scene 1)


Tamburlaine, Tamburlaine, Tamburlaine...

It's not hard to see why "Tamburlaine the Great" caused such a stir on its initial performance in the late 16th century. The powerful poetry, the seemingly endless array of battles, the inventive methods of torture and death, the sudden explosions of bilious insults... "Tamburlaine" is an important step in the development of drama, true.
...more
Moira Russell
Marlowe, if there is an afterlife, and we both wind up in the same place, I'm going to put the hurt on you for having written this. Because I had to read it FOUR HUNDRED YEARS LATER.
Keith
Nov 08, 2014 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It’s hard not to get swept up in the military triumphalism of this heroic epic, particularly Part One. Tamburlaine the shepherd uses his wit and audacious ambition to rise to emperor, smashing the existing order and tearing down the nobility in the process.

As with all his plays, Marlowe skirts the border of revolutionary unorthodoxy. A commoner rising up to be king – that was a dangerous theme in days of the tyrannical monarchy. And this play takes glee in the destruction of the nobility and th
...more
Sasha
Jul 07, 2014 Sasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2014
Part 1 was better than part 2, I felt. There are only so many times you can reinforce how great Tamburlaine is before it becomes rather repetitive. This play is different from other war-themed works in that both Tamburlaine's thirst for blood and his violent spirit is indefatigable. In fact, I even find him admirable, the way he will not sideline his honor for Zenocrate's love when she asks him to pity her hometown. His resolve is praise-worthy. In the Iliad, at first, the graphic violence is si ...more
Samet
Apr 14, 2016 Samet rated it really liked it
Marlowe'u seviyorum.
Katie
Jan 16, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare wished he was Christopher Marlowe, tried to be him (Titus), and failed. Tamburlaine might have been the single greatest piece to come out of English Renaissance drama. Remind me again why we make people study Shakespeare instead of Marlowe? Hell, why do we even bother with Shakespeare when we could be studying Marlowe, Middleton, Webster, and Ford?
Davide Nole
Mar 21, 2015 Davide Nole rated it really liked it
OH! Finalmente Marlowe!
Allora: le due parti di questa sorta di dramma storico/tragedia/NonSoComeSiaConsiderato fanno a pugni con quanto letto prima dell'autore. Si distaccano tanto da Didone (che ricordo ho trovato oscena) ma anche dal Faust (che trovo molto bello), sia per linguaggio che per temi trattati.
Per quanto mi aspettassi una sorta di polpettone storico con lo spessore di un foglio di carta, atto solo a far emozionare gli spettatori dell'epoca, ho scoperto un dramma ricco di sfaccettatu
...more
Jacqueline Wagenstein
ТАМЕРЛАН, ИЛИ ГЛЕДНАТА ТОЧКА НА ЗЛОТО
Литературата обичайно или предлага утехи срещу злото, или му служи, представяйки го като нещо друго. „Тамерлан Велики” е уникална пиеса с това, че представя злото като зло и въпреки това предлага на зрителя – или читателя – да се идентифицира с него. Тамерлан не предлага никакъв повод, никакво оправдание за своя безмилостен поход към властта; не си избира малък народец, който уж да освобождава, не тръгва да насажда по-справедлив ред (ни равенство, ни демокрац
...more
Nina
Nov 03, 2012 Nina rated it liked it
What can describe this book if not the infinite wars, murders and the protagonist's cruelty?
From the first act, the figure of Tamerlan is not a good one, although he's a shepard's son, he becomes the most feared man in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Given his cruelty, I couldn't believe he was serious about Zenocrate and I was pleasantly surprise to see that he actually cared for her and would even give his life for her. How can such a man love and hate at such intensities? From my point of view, Marl
...more
Charles
I just love this play. Like 'Doctor Faustus', Tamburlaine is essentially a 'one-man play'. However, while it lacks the subtle characterization that made Shakespeare so great, Tamb. is an exceptional 'de Casibus' Tragedy that will delight all those who give 'Marlowe's Mighty Line' the attention it deserves.

Let there be no mistake about it, Tamb. is pride personified. The scourge of the gods and the terror of the world, as he terms himself, abides by a strict code of war ethics and lets nothing s
...more
Mike Jensen
Jul 21, 2011 Mike Jensen rated it it was amazing
Do not even consider using this cheap edition of Marlowe’s great play. Marlowe experts do not need it, and Marlowe students need far more in the way of an introduction, glosses, textual apparatus, and other notes. It has the “mighty line”s, but it lacks everything that helps people understand Marlowe 400 years after he wrote. Use the Revels or New Mermaid instead. This edition is fine if you already understand Marlowe and need something for an airplane that you can discard when you reach your de ...more
Valerie
Feb 01, 2015 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
A few people on this site have mentioned they thought the first play was superior. I disagree. I thought the second play not only saw an improvement on language, but had a very interesting religious conflicts. In the beginning of the play, a nation of Christians and a nation of Muslims form a peace agreement, the Christians swearing by Christ and God, and the Muslims by the Prophet and the Koran. But soon, the Christians agree that the Muslims are untrustworthy pagans and violent heathens and la ...more
David
Nov 01, 2012 David rated it it was amazing


Really that should be 4 1/2 stars. I give it five because of the language which I love and often find exhilarating. Yet I cannot help wondering why such language has been lavished upon an egotistical schweinhund about whom I care no more at the end than at the beginning. Read it especially for the language.
Emily
Feb 26, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
A bold (and unapologetically so) play which breaks the rules, and subverts its audience's expectations. Its been said that you can sense the confidence of Marlowe in its characters and speeches, and I definitely agree. A limit-stretching, wild play with some brilliant lines.
David Sarkies
Jan 16, 2014 David Sarkies rated it really liked it
Shelves: tragedy
I was going to have a look at both of these plays as a whole, but it appears that both of these plays are in fact a ten act play divided into two parts. This seemed to also be something of a debate with some of Shakespeare's plays, however even the ones that are in two, or three, parts (actually, there is only Henry IV in two parts, and Henry VI in three parts, and it could be argued that all of these plays form one continuous play from Richard II to Richard III) seem to have their own internal ...more
Hadrian
Jul 21, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, plays
Tamburlaine the conqueror. Not much in terms of genuine character development, but with beautiful passages and historical allusions. Violence for its own sake. Probably a piece for a famous actor to take the title role.
Laura
Sep 19, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Carey
From BBC Radio 3:
Christopher Marlowe's 16th century play about the growth to power of a Scythian shepherd.
Erin
Dec 09, 2011 Erin rated it it was amazing
And then she brains herself. Best stage direction ever.
Слави Ганев
Тамерлан Велики на Кристофър Марлоу не беше лошо четиво... добре, де, беше труден за четене. Не, не беше изпълнен с философски разсъждения, които да те хвърлят в меланхолични чувства, мъка или неразбираемо написана. Просто беше прекалено накъсана в действие. Книгата съдържа две драми на вече познатия от друг мой постинг творец - двете части на Тамерлан Вилики, които разказват за живота и смъртта на големия завоевател от монголски произход. Бягам от истинския проблем. Той е преводът. Не знам дали ...more
Мартин Касабов
Как е възможно чак сега да разбирам за това издание на Марлоу? Кажете ми, къде съм гледал, че съм го пропускал цели две години. След като прочетох "Едуард II" и дори ви разказах за него, е време да продължим с тази по-ранна и по-екзотична творба на големия английски драматург, творил по времето на Шекспир.

"Тамерлан Велики" разказва историята на легендарния Тимур-Ленк, който от скитски пастир се възкача до императорския трон на Изтока. Чрез множество предателства, съюзи и друг вид дипломация, цар
...more
Peter Heavenheld
Apr 04, 2011 Peter Heavenheld rated it really liked it
Nature, that fram'd us of four elements
Warring within our breasts for regiment,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds:
Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend
The wondrous architecture of the world,
And measure every wandering planet's course,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite,
And always moving as the restless spheres,
Will us to wear ourselves, and never rest, Act II Sc 5

Tamburlaine, a commoner, starts out by winning skirmishes against the King of Persia, then goes on to greater and greate
...more
Libby
Aug 28, 2008 Libby rated it liked it
Recommends it for: The insane, the violent, and those who dig Elizabethan drama
How could someone NOT love a play called “Tamburlaine the Great, Who, from a Scythian Shephearde by his rare and woonderfull Conquestf, became a most puiffant and mightye Monarque, And (for his tyranny, and terrour in Warre) waf tearmed, The Scourge of God?” Well, I suppose it is possible. I certainly enjoyed "Dr. Faustus" more. I would blame the editors for some of the oddness, given that a great deal of the play's "lesser" comedic scene have been cut. In spite of this, "Tamburlaine" has much t ...more
Rebecca Curtis
I wish I could say I enjoyed this more, Marlowe is a very interesting writer and this play contained more depth than I really expected.

That being said, there were too many characters in this play, at times it became really hard to follow due to the constant use of names that sounded the same as the last set of characters. I also did not like some of the scenes in which Marlowes attacks any human decency.

Food for thought for sure but is not making my must read list.
Vrixton Phillips
Dec 31, 2015 Vrixton Phillips rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ági
May 15, 2015 Ági rated it it was amazing
My my my, part one is one of the greatest achievements of world lit (part two is also amazing, however, it gets more and more repetitive as it progresses towards the rather mediocre grand finale).
It's a shame Marlowe is shunned and forgotten. His Tamburlaine is one of the most powerful characters in English Renaissance drama -- frankly I would have loved to read this instead of all the elaborate kingly torments by Shakespeare.
Brad Davies
Sep 08, 2015 Brad Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a Renaissance HBO show. Lots of fighting and talking about fighting, followed by fighting. I would have been even crueller and gone down to three stars if it weren't for the exquisite dialogue in the final scene of Part One (no spoilers): 'Ah, Tamburlaine my love, sweet Tamburlaine, / That fight'st for sceptres and for slippery crowns,' and so on.
Rozonda
Sep 29, 2011 Rozonda rated it really liked it
Tamburlaine inspired two very different works of art: These plays and Tamerlan, the poem by Allan Poe. In both, the bloody shepherd-turned-emperor is humanised by his grief for a beloved's death (in Poe's poem, a shepherdess he grew up with, Ada; in this play, Zenocrate, an Egyptian princess he held captive)

Tamburlaine resonates and echoes all over Shakespeare; parodied in Henry IV, imitated in Henry VI, mirrored (badly in my opinion)in Titus Andronicus, that grand guignol of a play. It could be
...more
H
Aug 23, 2010 H added it
Shelves: drama-verse
This strikes me as curiously indulgent popular theater. An awful, bombastic hero who meets no just end. Presented by Marlowe with an admirable subtlety. The sympathies we feel for Tamburlaine can be compared to those we feel for Richard III.

This laid the groundwork for dramatic blank verse. I enjoyed the technique of having Zenocrate & Zabina (queens of opposing sides) bickering on stage to mark a battle's passage of time. Bajazeth's and Zabina's suicides surprised me. Zabina's mad reeling f
...more
Kristina
Dec 16, 2014 Kristina rated it liked it
Read this for my Tudor British Literature class. Marlowe's use of an antihero protagonist particularly interests me as the concept of an antihero character seems a more "modern" notion.
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Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564) 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, his overreaching protagonists, and his own mysterious and untimely death.

The author's Wikipedia page.
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“Unhappy Persia, that in former age
Hast been the seat of mighty Conquerors,
That in their prowesse and their policies, Have triumph over Africa.”
5 likes
“From jygging vaines of riming mother wits,
And such conceits as clownage keepes in pay,
Weele leade you to the stately tent of War:
Where you shall heare the Scythian Tamburlaine,

Threatning the world with high astounding tearms
And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword.
View but his picture in this tragicke glasse,
And then applaud his fortunes if you please.”
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