“And Carthage souls be glutted with our bloods” : Marlowe’s Lucanian Dido in The Tragedie of Dido Queene of Carthage
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Despite most scholars agreeing that Christopher Marlowe's The Tragedie of Dido Queene of Carthage was composed fairly contemporaneously with his adaptation of Pharsalia 1, Lucans First Booke Translated Line for Line, few have recognized the intertextuality between the two works. This paper will consider Marlowe's relationship with Lucan's 1st century epic poem--both through his own posthumously published translation as well as selections he might have encountered during his petty school and graduate school study--and argue for the presence of distinctly Lucanian conventions in his drama, particularly in the portrayal of his protagonist, Dido. By revealing the Lucanian features of his play, in narrative structure as well as verbal echoes with the Pharsalia's Cornelia, The Tragedie of Dido Queene of Carthage exposes Marlowe's "republican imagination" and allows us to discern a political commentary in the seeming playfulness of his Virgilian parody. His employment of Lucanian devices is his attempt to imitate and outdo the self-proclaimed plus quam(ness) of Lucan's Pharsalia. In doing so, he introduces his own political subtext to the stage and interrogates, through the unassuming guise of child actors, the Elizabethan monarch's appropriation of a Trojan ancestry.