JAMB UTME - Use of English - 2022

Question 1 Report

Read the following passage and answer the questions below:

Christopher Marlowe, the son of Marlowe who is described as the clerk of St Mary's in the city of Canterbury, was born in 1564. He received his early education at The King's School in that city. He took the degrees of B.A. and M.A. in 1583 and 1587 respectively from Cambridge University. He started writing poems and became a renowned dramatist in the Admiral's Company.

Marlowe is known as one of the university wits, a group of dramatists along with Robert Greene, Thomas Nash, and George Peele. Marlowe is considered the greatest precursor to Shakespeare. When Marlowe came upon the English stage, the nature of drama was undeveloped. The verses in the dramas were lifeless. But Marlowe gave English drama an appropriate meter, diction, and method. It is really a matter of speculation what kind of greatness he would have achieved if his life had not been terminated (C++) in a duel after a brawl in a tavern (inn).

The literary life of Marlowe had a short span, from 1587 to 1593. During this period, he wrote five plays which were all tragedies as he had no comic vein. His tragedies like Dr Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward Il are rated as some of the best works of the Elizabethan age. He also wrote an unfinished poem Hero and Leander and translated some parts of Ovid's (a Roman Poet) elegies.

Marlowe's subjects are mostly heroic which appeals to the imagination of the play-goers. His heroes epitomize the spirit of the Renaissance. Each of them embodies a passion and tries to achieve lies in his development of the blank verse. He put it at any cost. But Marlowe's chief contribution aside from the old rhyming lines then employed in the plays and used blank verse. Thus, the language of drama was brought closer to real life and drama was made ready for Shakespeare (1564-1616) to improve upon it. It is rightly said, "No Marlowe, no Shakespeare".

How long was Christopher Marlowe's literary life?