Christopher Marlowe is a far more interesting character than William Shakespeare. Besides being the greatest playwright of his age he supposedly worked as a spy for the Walshinghams, Elizabeth’s spy masters. Stabbed to death in a fight over a restaurant bill, there are many conspiracy theories about his passing. Some believed that he was taken out to protect state secrets. Others believe that he was aware of nefarious dealings amongst Frizer, Poley and Skeres, his companions at the fateful dinner.
At the time of his death Marlowe was under investigation by the Privy council for heresy. His friend and fellow playwright Thomas Kyd was found in possession of heretical scripture, an Arianist tract. Under torture he stated that he had received it from Marlowe. At other times Marlowe was accused of being both an Athiest and a Catholic. He was suspected of being the author of blasphemous pamphlets that were distributed about London.
There is even a theory that Marlowe’s death was staged so that he could be smuggled away to safety from some threat to his person from his spying activities. While hidden away he is supposed to have written all the plays attributed to Shakespeare.
The face that launched a thousand ships; by Christopher Marlowe
Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack’d;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear’d to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa’s azur’d arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour!