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Edward II (New Mermaids)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,205 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Marlowe's "history play" which focuses on the reign of Edward in 14th-century England. The last of Marlowe's great dramas, often considered his masterpiece.
Paperback, 172 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by A & C Black Publishers Ltd (first published 1594)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Sarkies
Feb 08, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A broad range of people
Recommended to David by: SBS
Shelves: tragedy
A story of sex and politics
15 February 2014

My first encounter with this play was a movie that I watched once on SBS (the Special Broadcasting Commission for you non-Australians – this television station specialises in foreign and art-house programs, and soccer, however it has earned the moniker of 'Sex before Soccer' because a lot of the foreign movies are quite saucey) and I would have to say that this movie pretty much falls into the category of 'gay cinema'. Now, because I am not homosexual
What I've learned? When it comes to choosing between your kingdom and a pretty boy, you should probably choose your kingdom. Not that I would, but that probably just strengthens the point.
Like Shakespeare's Richard II, Edward is an ineffective ruler but not an evil one; Richard prized luxury and pleasure, Edward is blinded by his love for a male commoner. Contrary to what one might think, it's not his homosexuality which offends the nobles (they comment is a typical "weakness" of rulers and noble minds, remembering Alexander or Socrates) but his choice of a low class lover.Edward is unable to play his cards well and his wife and subjects rebel against him, murdering his beloved. ...more
Warning: this review contains major spoilers!

(view spoiler)
Alejandro Teruel
An interesting historical play on "The troublesome reign and lamentable death of Edward the Second, King of England; with the tragical fall of proud Mortimer", by Shakespeare´s contemporary and rival, Kit Marlowe.

Nowadays, it is probably inevitable to start by comparing the two authors; in the case of this play perhaps the closest comparison would be to Shakespeare´s Richard II, which indeed is sometimes said to have been inspired by Marlowe´s drama. Both plays are based on similar chronicles ab
Timothy Ferguson
It’s always interesting to listen to Elizabethan plays which aren’t Shakespeare. It lets you see how much of the grandeur of his work is based one what, back then, was a sort of national style. Marlowe does good work here, and the readers in the Librivox version are great, but he’s let down a little by the historical events he’s chosen to portray, and the political slant he takes. Basically this is the period where Edward II is infatuated with Piers Gaveston, and splits his realm in half over it ...more
May 01, 2012 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chrissie
Recommended to Laura by: ☯Bettie☯
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Richard Burton narrates the playwright's chronicle of the English Crown. Marlowe's Edward II faces rebellion. Stars John Hurt.
Edward II by Christopher Marlowe
The Will to Power

They all fight throughout the play for power.
There are some principles involved, for some of the characters and the king is defended by his brother at one point.
In other words, this is a much more complicated play and it deals with many other aspects of life, except for the struggle to get the throne, or at least a position near it, from where the reins of power can be snatched.
I had no idea that this is one of the earliest English history
3 stars instead of the 4 the play probably deserves only because my edition had endnotes instead of footnotes, which was endlessly frustrating and flow-obstructing. Not the play's fault, but the experience (unfairly) tainted the play in my first reading of it.

Edward II is less boisterous than any of the other Marlowe plays I've read, which given the subject - the deposition of King Edward II because of his low-class and homosexual love affair with Piers Gaveston - makes sense. Despite the bawd
Trendhater73: S. Bledsoe
Wow. Such a boring play. Edward II comes off as a whining idiot. His affection for Gaveston is pathetic and I cannot believe he lasted as king for more than a few weeks. I am not entirely familiar with Edward II as a real person, therefore I cannot comment much on this representation of his character. It does make me wonder how he would react to it though. In this play, he is portrayed as a love sick idiot who is so taken by a man that he forsakes his wife. There is much more to it, but that is ...more
I saw this play at London's National Theatre, so this is as much a play review as a script review. Although the play has its faults, Marlowe expresses the love between the King and his male lover so tenderly that it is SO moving, even to a non- gay like myself. Hanging over this is the knowledge that this is a doomed love, and it must all end with Edward's cruel murder. This play is a part of gay London's history, as it was put on in the sixties ((I think about '69), when people were still reluc ...more
I remember reading EDWARD II in class while studying A-Level English Literature. We got a lot of out fun of it. I was playing Edward and a buddy of mine was Gaveston. We were 16 year olds so you can imagine the laughs we had.

Looking back, this was a strong, solid play and almost as good as the stuff Shakespeare was writing during the same period. The level of ultra violence is there as well as the telling of a genuine historical story. I only knew Edward as that guy in BRAVEHEART who got chucked
Mike Jensen
This excellent student edition is a good place to begin with Marlowe and this thrilling play. I think editor Martin Wiggins is quite right that Edward's downfall came not because he was homosexual, but because of the political mistakes he made in giving away favors, taxing the barons, and taking advantage of them. He may do much of this because he shows favor to his lovers, but those who bring about Edward's downfall tolerate his lovers until Edward's actions affect them. Great insight into a gr ...more
Marlowe’s history play is thought to have influenced Shakespeare’s Richard II. Both feature arrogant British monarchs who come under the influence of vain young men which leads to their disposition. In life, both kings were also rumored to have been gay. Of the two, Edward II is a much gayer play, but it isn’t as believable a play as Richard II.

Unlike Shakespeare who focuses on the poor policy decisions Richard makes while under the influence of his boy pals, Marlowe makes the king’s homosexual
Edward the Second is one of the earliest English history plays. The play follows the history of this notorious reign from his recall of his friend Gaveston through the execution of Mortimer Junior for Edward II’s murder. At the beginning, Edward is wonderfully happy. Upon the death of his father, Gaveston can return to England. Unfortunately, he must agree to banish Gaveston due to the unrest of the nobles, which he does bitterly:
Are you content to banish him the realm?
Written in 1594 with a slightly cryptic typeset where 'f' is 's' and 'f', 'VV' is 'W,' 'u' is 'v' and 'u,' etc., yet after a few pages the conversion of letters becomes almost automatic. Long play, large cast of characters, with important death scenes too briefly brushed away. Yet this is a rare play that is able to turn a villain into a hapless human being and a virtuous hero into a villain.
Clayton Greiman
My main objections to Edward II are:

1. Gaveston, as a focal point of a king's downfall, is scantly a character. He is a day player in a couple of scenes in which he displays insolence and narcissism. His lack of depth leaves the reader with no sympathy for his demise, no interest in his relationship with Edward II, and (most damaging of all)no concern for the fate of the protagonist.
2. Edward II reigned as king for 21 years, but he is scripted in this play as so weak and ineffectual as to not b
One of the more beautifully written plays from this time I've had to read. Personally, I think Marlowe's writing is much more beautiful (and more interesting!) than Shakespeare's.
Alex Norcross
An interesting glimpse at English Renaissance homosexuality and an interesting study on the nature of kingship and rebellion.
I guess I'm a little confused. I know that in the age King Edward II reigned men had "minions" but this story only focused on King Edwards's obsession with Piers Gaveston. King Edward II reigned for twenty years until he was forced to give up his crown but there was no information about his actions prior to Piers Gaveston.

King Edward II was depicted as thoughtless (unless it came to Gaveston), irresponsible, and didn't seem able to focus on anything else but Gaveston since the start of the book.
For my first Marlowe play I really enjoyed it. I would say that his writing skill (for this play alone, as that is all that I know) equals that of Shakespeare. I look forward to reading more of his plays.

I was torn between giving this play a 3 or a 4 star. The writing is definitely equal to that of a 4, or potentially higher... but because of Edward II's whining and self-obsessed character I can only say that I liked the play, not that I really liked it. But that's also a nod to Marlowe's writi
Kenton Crowther
Living at the same time as Shakespeare, Marlowe appears more modern than the bard of Avon.

The play opens with the boyfriend, Piers (or 'Pierce') Gaveston, reading a letter from Edward, newly King, saying in effect, 'OK darling, the old boy is gone and I've inherited, let's make hay while we can.')

The tale unfolds as quick as a tv movie after that. The younger Mortimer makes a great villain, and dies a fine, scornful death. Also awful in his terribleness is the cringe-inducing killer who arrives
I am bewildered and even a bit perturbed by the enthusiasm many goodreads members have for this play. It has some superb verse to be sure and it is intense and dramatically feasible but it is also psychologically threadbare, voyeuristic, cruel, historically inaccurate and slick. I do find intriguing the two parallels between Shakespeare and Marlowe works, namely Edward and Richard II and the Jew of Malta and the Mercvhant of Venice. A major difference among many between Marlowe and Shakespeare i ...more
I stumbled upon this play in London. It was a Monday night and unlike New York's Broadway, the city's theaters are far from dark. It's bargain night and many plays were actually sold out. I got a last minute, fifth row ticket for under $50 to the National Theatre. It was a somewhat modern retelling of Edward II, complete with a female Earl of Kent, video closeups and rave music. The passion between Edward and his "beloved" Gaveston was explicit ("lots of snogging" a reviewer wrote) and the death ...more
I chose to read an online edition of this play for my Play Analysis paper for my Intro. to Drama class. Therefore, I am not talking about this exact edition, but am talking about the main work itself. This History/Chronicle play probably offered me the most compelling glimpse into a more controversial aspect of society of the time than any other ever has. That is, the way in which it deals with King Edward II's rumored bisexuality, his friends that are believed to have been his lovers, and so on ...more
Edward, like Richard the Second in Shakespeare's play is not someone you care much for, right until the moment he is deposed. Really, he is so terribly stupid that you wonder how he lasted as long as he did. His lover Gaveston is no better at getting the audience to root for him either. On the whole I was simply relieved when the nobles of Edward's court finally managed to kill Gaveston. Another pointless romance and much wailing later, the king is hauled off to prison and his young son crowned ...more
Edward II, condensed

(view spoiler)
I actually read this in Classic Drama: Christopher Marlowe but am shelving it as a separate edition because I'm not planning to read any of the other plays at this time.
A touching play.

I regard this play better than many of Shakespeare's tragedies.

Very powerful character, Edward the second.

This play is filled with action, vengeance, love and hatred.

One of the best Elizabethan plays
Marlowe's big historical play, published after his death (by eye-stabbing!) based on contemporary historical accounts of Edward II, who had a strong homosocial affection for Gaveston, a lower class gent. The play makes it unclear if what the earls had a problem with was the Ed/Gaveston relationship itself or the social/class faux pas of Ed making Gaveston a lord and favorite. Marlow invites an emotional connection to both Edward's situation and that of his rival earls, who eventually kill both G ...more
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Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (baptised 26 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, his overreaching protagonists, and his own mysterious and untimely death.
More about Christopher Marlowe...
Doctor Faustus The Complete Plays The Jew of Malta Tamburlaine Doctor Faustus and Other Plays, Parts 1-2

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“All live to die, and rise to fall.” 23 likes
“I must have wanton Poets, pleasant wits,
Musitians, that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant king which way I please:
Musicke and poetrie is his delight,
Therefore ile have Italian maskes by night,
Sweete speeches, comedies, and pleasing showes,
And in the day when he shall walke abroad,
Like Sylvian Nimphes my pages shall be clad,
My men like Satyres grazing on the lawnes,
Shall with their Goate feete daunce an antick hay.
Sometime a lovelie boye in Dians shape,
With haire that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearle about his naked armes,
And in his sportfull hands an Olive tree,
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring, and there hard by,
One like Actaeon peeping through the grove,
Shall by the angrie goddesse be transformde,
And running in the likenes of an Hart,
By yelping hounds puld downe, and seeme to die.
Such things as these best please his majestie,
My lord.”
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