Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Golden World’: Ekphrasis and Sidney’s Apology in Part 1 of Tamburlaine the Great

Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Golden World’: Ekphrasis and Sidney’s Apology in Part 1 of... IT is a critical commonplace that Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine plays changed the dramatic landscape of the early modern period by ‘liberat[ing] English drama from the complacencies of both its academic and its popular conventions’.1 In examinations of the ruptural force of the two plays, Part 1 is routinely singled out for particular attention, and has attracted a raft of critical praise.2 Yet despite the extraordinary amount of attention and adulation that extant criticism has afforded 1 Tamburlaine, it has overlooked a key aesthetic practice: Marlowe’s dramatic experiments with the classical concept of ekphrasis. In Murray Krieger’s formulation, ekphrasis is the verbal description of a visual work of art that momentarily ‘freezes’ the action of the main narrative and, through the dynamism of enargeia (intensity of description), ‘use[s] words to yield so vivid a description that they—dare we say literally?—place the represented object before the reader’s (hearer’s) inner eye’.3 In this essay, I suggest that Marlowe engages ekphrasis in Part 1 to explicitly invite audiences—by which I mean the play’s original audience, audiences within the play, and critics—to view Tamburlaine not as a man, and even less as a quasi-historical figure derived from sources available to Marlowe, but as a work of art. My discussion aims to demonstrate that Marlowe employs Tamburlaine-as-artwork to create a poetic kingdom—the play proper—in ways that engage the ‘golden world’ that Sir Philip Sidney’s theorizes in his Apology for Poetry. The crucial passage in the Apology follows: Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection [to Nature], lifted up with the vigour of his own invention, doth grow in effect into another nature, in making things either better than Nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in Nature, as the Heroes, Demigods, Cyclops, Chimeras, Furies, and such like: so as he goeth hand in hand with nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit. … [Nature’s] world is brazen, the poets only deliver a golden.4 I begin with a brief introduction to the play and an outline of the critical struggles to account for it. I then turn to the focal points of my examination: the Prologue, Tamburlaine’s conquest of Persia, Menaphon’s extended description of the protagonist at the beginning of Act II, scene i, and the effect of this panegyric on Tamburlaine’s defeat of Bajazeth in Act III, scene iii. Underpinning the discussion is a dramatic fact that is rarely foregrounded, if at all: physically, Tamburlaine does not actually do anything in Part 1. The play is Marlowe’s first for the public stage. Its plot, which draws on Timur Khan’s defeat of Bayazid I in 1402, is simple, episodic, and repetitive, charting the rise and rise of the protagonist, ‘the scourge and wrath of God’ (III. iii. 44), as he consolidates his power against increasingly stiff opposition.5 The play concludes with the hero making ‘truce with all the world’ and preparing to marry Zenocrate (V. i. 530–35). This is the only happy ending to a Marlowe play. The play was an ‘immediate theatrical success’ (Cunningham, 1), so much so that most critics think it spawned 2 Tamburlaine, which seems to have been even more successful than Part 1.6 Criticism of Part 1 has struggled to reconcile its popularity with artistic, aesthetic, and ethical concerns. Some critics have argued that Tamburlaine is other or more than human, and that his actions are beyond our judgement and comprehension.7 Others have criticized the play’s structure, condemned the violence it represents, and both questioned and praised Marlowe’s experimentation with form.8 At the heart of these critical disagreements is what John Gillies memorably calls the play’s ‘aesthetic dyslexia’.91 Tamburlaine, with its comedic finale of a promised marriage, does not behave as conventionally as the kind of tragedy its Prologue promises: From jigging veins of rhyming mother-wits And such conceits as clownage keeps in pay, We’ll lead you to the stately tent of War, Where you shall hear the Scythian Tamburlaine Threat’ning the world with high astounding terms And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword. View but his picture in this tragic glass And then applaud his fortunes as you please. (1–8) There is more at stake in these lines than the foreshadowing of mere generic confusion, for as Charles Whitney observes, the Prologue promises ‘a new reach of poetry, a new martial and tragic seriousness, a new challenge to order and degree, and a new respect and license of the audience’s powers of judgement’.10 Of interest to this study are the ways in which the Prologue aligns the poetic project of 1 Tamburlaine with theoretical works written in the period by reformers of prosody, of which Sidney’s Apology is the exemplar.11 Abandoning the ‘jigging’ (poorly metred) and ‘rhymed’ verse practised by ‘mother-wits’ who write about trivial subjects, Marlowe’s play will align itself with the work of those theorists who respect decorum by representing in appropriately ‘high astounding terms’ matters which emanate from ‘the stately tent of War’. This play, the Prologue promises, has been cleansed of those vulgar impurities that have degraded English poetry, especially the drama, and made it either ‘diseased’ or ‘deformed’.12 Its refined poetry will paint a picture in the mind’s eye that will come into being through what the audience will ‘hear’ rather than see: they will ‘hear’ Tamburlaine ‘threaten’ the world and ‘scourge’ its ‘kingdoms with his conquering sword’ as he cleans up the poetry which represents those kingdoms. Both the protagonist and the play are to function as corrective mechanisms. What ‘the Scythian Tamburlaine’ says rather than does will, in Sidney’s terms, ‘figure forth’ the ‘speaking picture’ that creates the enargeia of this play’s amended ‘tragic glass’ (101). The promised play will thus exemplify that ‘golden world’ Sidney longed for, which only the poet can ‘deliver’. Finally, the Prologue dispenses with the traditionally choric function of helping the audience to judge Tamburlaine’s fortunes by declaring that they may applaud these ‘as [they] please’. It nevertheless expects those fortunes to be received favourably as a result of the eloquence of the play’s cleansed verse. Above all, the play’s persuasive strategies will determine whether its poetic kingdoms are won or lost. Delivering on the Prologue’s promises, the play begins with Mycetes, the King of Persia, asking his brother, Cosroe, to give a ‘great and thund’ring speech’ that will appropriately describe the threat Tamburlaine poses to Persia, which Mycetes declares himself ‘insufficient to express’ (I. i. 2–3). Cosroe obliges, but with a speech that attributes the demise of Persia and the current threat to ‘mangle’ its provinces to the ‘fickle brain’ of its king (I. i. 6–17). After turning to Meander and being persuaded by his eloquent counsel (I. i. 35–50), Mycetes sends Theridamas—whose ‘words are swords’, and whose ‘looks’ conquer ‘all [his] foes’—with a thousand horse against Tamburlaine and his army (I. i. 57–64, 74–75). On encountering Tamburlaine, however, it is Theridamas who is himself conquered by his opponent’s words and looks (I. ii. 227). By the end of Act I, Tamburlaine has also captured Zenocrate and her military escort, and ‘countermanded’ the ‘letters and commands’ for her safe conduct with his own (I. ii. 21–25). In Act II, he uses more ‘working words’ to double-cross Cosroe, who has usurped Mycetes, and thereby ‘reach[es] the ripest fruit of all, / That perfect bliss and sole felicity, / The sweet fruition of an earthly crown’ (II. iii. 25, 42–48; II. vii. 1–10, 27–29). All without striking a physical blow, at least not on stage. Words, not weapons, win Tamburlaine Persia as well as Zenocrate. The play’s obsession with persuasion turns Tamburlaine into a walking hyperbole, indescribable except in the hyperbole Menaphon resorts to at the beginning of Act II, scene i: Of stature tall, and straightly fashionèd, Like his desire, lift upwards and divine; So large of limbs, his joints so strongly knit, Such breadth of shoulders as might manly bear Old Atlas’ burden; ’twixt his manly pitch A pearl more worth than all the world is placed, Wherein by curious sovereignty of art Are fixed his piercing instruments of sight, Whose fiery circles bear encompassèd A heaven of heavenly bodies in their spheres That guides his steps and actions to the throne Where honour sits invested royally; Pale of complexion—wrought in him with passion, Thirsting with sovereignty, with love of arms; His lofty brows in folds do figure death, And in their smoothness amity and life; About them hangs a knot of amber hair Wrappèd in curls, as fierce Achilles’ was, On which the breath of heaven delights to play, Making it dance with wanton majesty; His arms and fingers long and sinewy, Betokening valour and excess of strength: In every part proportioned like the man Should make the world subdued to Tamburlaine. (II. i. 7–30) Tamburlaine’s enemies and admirers may constantly construct and deconstruct him, as Sara Munson Deats suggests, but the shape he holds in the mind’s eye of the audience is surely Menaphon’s astounding word-painting, as Cosroe confirms when he praises the description: ‘Well hast thou portrayed in thy terms of life / The face and personage of a wondrous man’ (II. i. 31–32).13 Menaphon’s striking image of Tamburlaine subdues other characters’ descriptions of him to a rhetorical kingdom in which the enargeia generated by hyperbole enables language to incarnate both the heroic and the mythic. Joel Altman has drawn attention to verbs of art in Menaphon’s description of Tamburlaine: ‘fashionèd’, ‘knit’, ‘placed’, ‘wrought’, and ‘proportioned’. He argues that Marlowe uses these verbs to represent Tamburlaine as a ‘colossal work of art’, a decorously proportioned figure of ‘rare artifice’.14 Subsequently, Mark Thornton Burnett noted a possible etymological pun in the association between ‘stature’ and ‘statue’ in his argument that Menaphon’s aestheticization of Tamburlaine is ‘drawn along [Bakhtin’s] “classical” lines’ in a way that forces the play’s audiences ‘to look up’.15 Both critics stop short of calling Menaphon’s encomium an ekphrasis, probably because ekphrases traditionally describe an artwork that exists independently of and prior to that description. Yet there is nothing traditional about 1 Tamburlaine, as the Prologue tells us. I suggest that in this speech Marlowe is indeed intervening in the tradition of ekphrasis, constructing Tamburlaine as a work of art that the play’s audiences can see in their mind’s eye, and momentarily freezing the action of the main narrative as they pause to imaginatively ‘look up’. Menaphon’s ekphrasis of Tamburlaine simultaneously creates as it describes the protagonist as a work of art. Given that we know from his Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage that Marlowe was an accomplished translator of the Aeneid, I would add that this artwork also evokes Virgil’s epic. Marlowe’s description of ‘the breath of heaven’ playing about the curls on Tamburlaine’s forehead recollects the portentous play of heaven about the temples of Iulus in Book 2 (680–84), for example, and the mention of Tamburlaine’s ‘fingers long and sinewy’ evokes Virgil’s use throughout the Aeneid of fingere as a verb of art.16 Further, as Jonathan Crewe points out, the comparison to Achilles foregrounds Tamburlaine’s ‘potential normativeness’ in a way that ‘not merely opposes but paradoxically represents cultural norms, thus re-establishing a “lost” or eclipsed state of perfection’ (326, 328; emphasis in original). Thus, in the golden world the Prologue promised, Marlowe, ‘freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit’, has brought forth a ‘Hero, a Demigod’, a form ‘quite anew … such as never [was] in Nature’. Respecting the principles of decorum, this ‘form quite anew’ is the appropriate partner for Zenocrate, who, earlier in the play, is constructed as an artwork by Tamburlaine’s ‘working words’: Zenocrate, lovelier than the love of Jove, Brighter than is the silver Rhodope, Fairer than whitest snow on Scythian hills, Thy person is worth more to Tamburlaine Than the possession of the Persian crown, Which gracious stars have promised at my birth. A hundred Tartars shall attend on thee, Mounted on steeds swifter than Pegasus; Thy garments shall be made of Median silk, Enchased with precious jewels of mine own. More rich and valorous than Zenocrate’s; With milk-white harts upon an ivory sled Thou shalt be drawn amidst the frozen pools And scale the icy mountains’ lofty tops, Which with thy beauty will soon be resolved; My martial prizes, with five hundred men, Won on the fifty-headed Volga’s waves, Shall all we offer to Zenocrate, And then my self to fair Zenocrate. (I. i. 2.87–105) Bearing in mind the association between ‘stature’ and ‘statue’ in Menaphon’s aesthetic idolization of Tamburlaine, it is not hard to retrospectively imagine Zenocrate as a kind of ice sculpture, an artwork frozen, together with the action of the main narrative, on an ‘ivory sled’ and ‘drawn amidst the frozen pools’ in Tamburlaine’s ekphrastic description of her. Nor is it hard to imagine that Marlowe is again respecting the principles of decorum in his manipulation of the length of the two ekphrases, with that of Zenocrate (feminine) falling marginally short of that of Tamburlaine (masculine) by five lines. As an animated artwork created by hyperbole, Tamburlaine’s excessive use of that rhetorical figure delivers on the Prologue’s promise of poetic kingdoms scourged by what he says, not what he does. At no time do the audience see Tamburlaine perform an act of violence: the closest he comes to doing so is in a stage direction to ‘pursue’ Bajazeth offstage (III. iii. 211). Tamburlaine doesn’t actually do anything: instead, he ‘subdue[s]’ the world through his use of language, a phenomenon epitomized in the defeat of Bajazeth, his greatest opponent in Part 1: Our conquering swords shall marshal us the way We use to march upon the slaughtered foe, Trampling their bowels with our horses’ hoofs— Brave horses, bred on the white Tartarian hills. My camp is like to Julius Caesar’s host, That never fought but had the victory; Nor in Pharsalia was there ever such hot war As these my followers willingly would have. Legions of spirits fleeting in the air Direct our bullets and our weapons’ points And make your strokes to wound the senseless air; And when she sees our bloody colours spread, Then Victory begins to take her flight, Resting herself upon my milk-white tent. But come, my lords, to weapons let us fall. The field is ours, the Turk, his wife and all. (III. iii. 148–163) Tamburlaine speaks these lines before the battle, not after it, as ‘the slaughtered foe’ in line 149 and the present tense in the final line suggest. The tense shifts from the future in the first line to the past in the second and then to the present in the last line to actualize the victory to come in the ‘now’ of the audience’s heard experience. Tamburlaine has only to ‘speak it, and [his] words are oracles’ (III. iii. 102): the ‘foe’ have been ‘slaughtered’ already by Tamburlaine’s word-swords. Tamburlaine’s speeches have alchemical properties: hyperbole makes his language substance, creating word-pictures of his conquests which enable the audience to picture in their mind’s eye imaginary actions that ‘top his speech’ (II. iii. 26). And so on for the rest of the play, for despite the slaughter of the Damascus virgins and the brainings of Bajazeth and Zabina, Tamburlaine remains liberated from the world of the body, the ‘dungeon’ that according to Sidney we can escape through poetry’s ability to ‘lift up the mind’ by knowledge (104): Tamburlaine’s lofty hyperboles may direct violence but he is never physically involved in it. In the ‘golden world’ Tamburlaine inhabits as an artwork, neither the virgins nor Bajazeth and Zabina are flesh-and-blood bodies any more than his heroic and mythic flesh is that of an actual man. As merely props on the stage of an artwork in action, they are directed by the words Tamburlaine speaks in much the same way as his body language makes Agydas commit suicide and produces the prop he uses to do so: Tamburlaine has only to look ‘wrathfully’ at Agydas for daring to sway Zenocrate back to her betrothed, Arabia, for Techelles to provide the dagger Agydas uses to kill himself (III. ii. 47–106). Having reached the ‘perfection’ (Sidney, 104) of a cleansed poetic kingdom ruled by hyperbole it remains for Tamburlaine to re-shape the genre of the artwork proper. He accomplishes this generic metamorphosis by excising from the play Sidney’s theory of tragedy as that ‘which maketh kings fear to be tyrants, and tyrants manifest their tyrannical humours’ in order to teach its audience ‘the uncertainty of this world’ (117–118). Zenocrate gives voice to this function of tragedy in her response to the sight of the slain Damascus virgins and the brained Bajazeth and Zabina: she prays that Tamburlaine will learn from the ‘bloody spectacle’, and ‘In fear and feeling of the like distress’ avoid retribution from ‘the wavering turns of war’ (V. i. 340, 362–363).17 Yet when Tamburlaine views the carnage, he sees ‘sights of power to grace [his] victory’ rather than tragedy (V. i. 475). Indeed, only when Tamburlaine re-defines the Damascus episode is the scene’s excessive violence mastered by language, scourging tragedy from the play to achieve the comedy signified by the truce and marriage promises. As I hope to have shown, in ‘liberating’ the drama of the period, 1 Tamburlaine freed ekphrasis from its classical moorings, transforming it for the stage with far-reaching dramatic consequences. If nothing in the early modern theatre was ever the same after this play, then Marlowe’s intervention in the tradition of ekphrasis to dramatically realize Sidney’s ‘golden world’ gives us new insights into why and in what ways English drama changed.18 More is at stake here than our discussions of the plays of the period, for the challenge of ekphrasis, as Alessandro Barchiesi reminds us, is ‘the challenge of representation’ itself.19 Footnotes 1 Robert Watson, ‘Tragedy’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama (Cambridge, 2003), 303. Also see Ruth Lunney, Marlowe and the Popular Tradition: Innovation in the English Drama before 1595 (Manchester, 2002), 2 and 312; and Neil Rhodes, ‘Marlowe and the Greeks’, Renaissance Studies, xxvii (2011), 199. 2 For example, Thomas Cartelli calls 1 Tamburlaine the ‘most expressly spellbinding play in the Elizabethan repertory’ in his influential Marlowe, Shakespeare, and the Economy of Theatrical Experience (Philadelphia, 1991), 64. Also see Kimberley Benston, ‘ “Beauty’s Just Applause”: Dramatic Form and the Tamburlainian Sublime’, in Christopher Marlowe (New York, 1986), 208; and Jonathon Crewe, ‘The Theatre of the Idols: Marlowe, Rankins, and Theatrical Images’, Theatre Journal, xxxvi (1984), 325. 3 Murray Krieger, Ekphrasis: The Illusion of the Natural Sign (Baltimore, MD, 1992), 7 and 14. I note here a growing critical interest in ekphrasis in Marlowe’s first play, The Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage. See Efterpi Mitsi, ‘ “What is this but stone?” Priam’s Statue in Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage’, Word and Image, xxvii (2011), 443–9; and Antonio Ziosi’s Didone Regina di Cartagine di Christopher Marlowe: Metamorfosi Virgiliane nel Cinquecentro (Rome, 2015), especially 77–98. 4 Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry, ed. Geoffrey Shepherd (London, 1965), 100. Krieger offers an insightful discussion of Sidney’s responsiveness in the Apology to the ekphrastic impulse based on the quoted passage (126–31). Rhodes examines Marlowe’s recourse to Sidney’s Apology in both Tamburlaine plays in ways other than those I discuss here, especially 207–12. 5 All references from both parts of Tamburlaine the Great are from J. S. Cunningham’s edition for the Revels Plays (Manchester, 1981). As Cunningham notes in his introduction, 10, Marlowe’s play draws on two versions of ‘a prototype Tamburlaine narrative’ that emerged some one hundred years after Timur Khan’s defeat of Bayazid, ‘one in Latin by Petrus Perondinus (Pietro Perondino), and one in English by George Whetstone’. 6 See Cartelli, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Economy, 212n. Critics routinely cite the Prologue to 2 Tamburlaine as evidence of the success of Part 1. It begins as follows: ‘The general welcomes Tamburlaine received / When he arrivèd last upon our stage / Hath made our poet pen his second part’ (1–3). 7 See Emily Bartels, Spectacles of Strangeness: Imperialism, Alienation, and Marlowe (Philadelphia, 1993), 6; Donald Peet, ‘The Rhetoric of Tamburlaine’, English Literary History, xxvi (1959), 153; Herbert Rothschild, ‘The Conqueror-Hero, the Beseiged City, and the Development of an Elizabethan Protagonist’, South Central Review, iii (1986), 62–3. 8 On the play’s structure, see Helen Gardner, ‘The Second Part of Tamburlaine the Great’, in Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine Part One and Part Two: Text and Major Criticism (Indianapolis, 1974), 202; John Gillies, ‘Tamburlaine and Renaissance Geography’, in Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion (New York, 2006), 35. On the play’s violence, see Eugene Hill, ‘Marlowe’s “more Excellent and Admirable method” of Parody in Tamburlaine I’, Renaissance Papers (1995), 38; Gillies, ‘Tamburlaine and Renaissance Geography’, 46; Ethel Seaton, ‘Marlowe’s Light Reading’, in Elizabethan and Jacobean Studies in Honor of Frank Percy Wilson (Oxford, 1959), 20. On the play’s experimentation with form, see C. L. Barber, ‘The Death of Zenocrate: “Conceiving and subduing both” in Marlowe’s Tamburlaine’, Literature and Psychology, xvi (1966), 16; and Benston, ‘ Beauty’s Just Applause ’, 214. 9 John Gillies, ‘Marlowe, the Timur Myth, and the Motives of Geography’, in Playing the Globe: Genre and Geography in English Renaissance Drama (Madison, WI, 1998), 208. 10 Charles Whitney, Early Responses to Renaissance Drama (Cambridge, 2006), 17. 11 As Shepherdcomments in his introduction to Apology for Poetry, 16, the Apology is ‘epoch-marking’ rather than ‘epoch-making’. A number of putative defences of poetry appeared in the period, including Roger Ascham’s The Scholemaster (1570), Thomas Lodge’s A Defence of Poetry (1579), William Webbe’s A Discourse of English Poetrie (1586), and George Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie (1589). 12 In the wrong hands, the theorists claimed, English versifying did not adequately translate the measures of Latin verse, and hence the ‘deformed, unnaturall, and lame’ English poetry about which Roger Ascham writes. Ascham is reproduced in G. Gregory Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, vol. I (Oxford, 1904; reprint 1959), 33. Also see Webbe, in Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, vol I, 240. Of course, there were suitably skilled poets writing in the vernacular, as Thomas Nashe claimed himself to be in the Preface to Robert Greene’s Menaphon (1589), in which he looks forward to the effect of his completed but not yet published Anatomie Of Absurditie (1589): this work, Nashe claims, ‘may acquaint [readers] ere long with [his] skill in surgery, wherein the diseases of Art more merrily discovered may make our maimed Poets put together their blankes unto the building of an Hospitall’. Nashe is reproduced in Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, vol I, 320. Nashe was Marlowe’s friend and his name appears with Marlowe’s on the title page of the 1594 publication of Dido, Queen of Carthage. Ben Jonson’s praise of ‘Marlowe’s mighty line’ is well known. 13 Sara Munson Deats, Sex, Gender and Desire in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe (Newark, 1997), 135. 14 Joel Altman, The Tudor Play of Mind: Rhetorical Inquiry and the Development of Elizabethan Drama (Berkeley, 1978), 328. 15 Mark Thornton Burnett, ‘Tamburlaine and the Body’, Criticism, xxx (1991), 33. 16 Virgil uses fingo for the first time in Aeneid 2 to fashion both Sinon and his false tale (2.79–80, 107). See also 3.18 (of Aeneadae, the city Aeneas builds); 4.148, (of Aeneas); 4.188 (of the tales told by Fama); 4.338 (of Aeneas’ unheroic plans to leave Carthage); 6.80 (of the Sibyl’s message); 7.436 (of Allecto’s tale, which Turnus mocks); 8.42 (of the river-god Tiberinus’ message for Aeneas); 8.365 (of Evander entreating Aeneas to make himself worthy of a deity); 8.634 (of the she-wolf moulding the figures of Romulus and Remus with her tongue); 8.726 (of the figures wrought on Aeneas’ shield); 11.364 (of Drances pretending to be Turnus’ foe); 11.406 (of false fear). References from the Aeneid are from G. P. Goold’s edition for The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, 1916; reprint 1994). 17 For an extended discussion of Zenocrate’s lament and its inefficacy, see Lucy Potter, ‘Informing Audiences: Marlowe’s Early Tragedies’, in Brett D. Hirsch and Christopher Wortham (eds), ‘This Earthly Stage’: World and Stage in Late Medieval and Early Modern England (Turnhout, 2010), 248–53. 18 For Shakespeare’s exchanges with the concept of ekphrasis, see Richard Meek, ‘Ekphrasis in The Rape of Lucrece and The Winter’s Tale’, Studies in English Literature 1500–1900, xxxxvi (2006), 389–414; and Catherine Belsey, ‘Invocation of the Visual Image: Ekphrasis in Lucrece and Beyond’, Shakespeare Quarterly, lxiii (2012), 175–98. 19 Alessandro Barchiesi, ‘Ecphrasis’, in Charles Martindale (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Virgil (Cambridge, 1997), 27. © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Notes and Queries Oxford University Press

Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Golden World’: Ekphrasis and Sidney’s Apology in Part 1 of Tamburlaine the Great

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Abstract

IT is a critical commonplace that Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine plays changed the dramatic landscape of the early modern period by ‘liberat[ing] English drama from the complacencies of both its academic and its popular conventions’.1 In examinations of the ruptural force of the two plays, Part 1 is routinely singled out for particular attention, and has attracted a raft of critical praise.2 Yet despite the extraordinary amount of attention and adulation that extant criticism has afforded 1 Tamburlaine, it has overlooked a key aesthetic practice: Marlowe’s dramatic experiments with the classical concept of ekphrasis. In Murray Krieger’s formulation, ekphrasis is the verbal description of a visual work of art that momentarily ‘freezes’ the action of the main narrative and, through the dynamism of enargeia (intensity of description), ‘use[s] words to yield so vivid a description that they—dare we say literally?—place the represented object before the reader’s (hearer’s) inner eye’.3 In this essay, I suggest that Marlowe engages ekphrasis in Part 1 to explicitly invite audiences—by which I mean the play’s original audience, audiences within the play, and critics—to view Tamburlaine not as a man, and even less as a quasi-historical figure derived from sources available to Marlowe, but as a work of art. My discussion aims to demonstrate that Marlowe employs Tamburlaine-as-artwork to create a poetic kingdom—the play proper—in ways that engage the ‘golden world’ that Sir Philip Sidney’s theorizes in his Apology for Poetry. The crucial passage in the Apology follows: Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection [to Nature], lifted up with the vigour of his own invention, doth grow in effect into another nature, in making things either better than Nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in Nature, as the Heroes, Demigods, Cyclops, Chimeras, Furies, and such like: so as he goeth hand in hand with nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit. … [Nature’s] world is brazen, the poets only deliver a golden.4 I begin with a brief introduction to the play and an outline of the critical struggles to account for it. I then turn to the focal points of my examination: the Prologue, Tamburlaine’s conquest of Persia, Menaphon’s extended description of the protagonist at the beginning of Act II, scene i, and the effect of this panegyric on Tamburlaine’s defeat of Bajazeth in Act III, scene iii. Underpinning the discussion is a dramatic fact that is rarely foregrounded, if at all: physically, Tamburlaine does not actually do anything in Part 1. The play is Marlowe’s first for the public stage. Its plot, which draws on Timur Khan’s defeat of Bayazid I in 1402, is simple, episodic, and repetitive, charting the rise and rise of the protagonist, ‘the scourge and wrath of God’ (III. iii. 44), as he consolidates his power against increasingly stiff opposition.5 The play concludes with the hero making ‘truce with all the world’ and preparing to marry Zenocrate (V. i. 530–35). This is the only happy ending to a Marlowe play. The play was an ‘immediate theatrical success’ (Cunningham, 1), so much so that most critics think it spawned 2 Tamburlaine, which seems to have been even more successful than Part 1.6 Criticism of Part 1 has struggled to reconcile its popularity with artistic, aesthetic, and ethical concerns. Some critics have argued that Tamburlaine is other or more than human, and that his actions are beyond our judgement and comprehension.7 Others have criticized the play’s structure, condemned the violence it represents, and both questioned and praised Marlowe’s experimentation with form.8 At the heart of these critical disagreements is what John Gillies memorably calls the play’s ‘aesthetic dyslexia’.91 Tamburlaine, with its comedic finale of a promised marriage, does not behave as conventionally as the kind of tragedy its Prologue promises: From jigging veins of rhyming mother-wits And such conceits as clownage keeps in pay, We’ll lead you to the stately tent of War, Where you shall hear the Scythian Tamburlaine Threat’ning the world with high astounding terms And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword. View but his picture in this tragic glass And then applaud his fortunes as you please. (1–8) There is more at stake in these lines than the foreshadowing of mere generic confusion, for as Charles Whitney observes, the Prologue promises ‘a new reach of poetry, a new martial and tragic seriousness, a new challenge to order and degree, and a new respect and license of the audience’s powers of judgement’.10 Of interest to this study are the ways in which the Prologue aligns the poetic project of 1 Tamburlaine with theoretical works written in the period by reformers of prosody, of which Sidney’s Apology is the exemplar.11 Abandoning the ‘jigging’ (poorly metred) and ‘rhymed’ verse practised by ‘mother-wits’ who write about trivial subjects, Marlowe’s play will align itself with the work of those theorists who respect decorum by representing in appropriately ‘high astounding terms’ matters which emanate from ‘the stately tent of War’. This play, the Prologue promises, has been cleansed of those vulgar impurities that have degraded English poetry, especially the drama, and made it either ‘diseased’ or ‘deformed’.12 Its refined poetry will paint a picture in the mind’s eye that will come into being through what the audience will ‘hear’ rather than see: they will ‘hear’ Tamburlaine ‘threaten’ the world and ‘scourge’ its ‘kingdoms with his conquering sword’ as he cleans up the poetry which represents those kingdoms. Both the protagonist and the play are to function as corrective mechanisms. What ‘the Scythian Tamburlaine’ says rather than does will, in Sidney’s terms, ‘figure forth’ the ‘speaking picture’ that creates the enargeia of this play’s amended ‘tragic glass’ (101). The promised play will thus exemplify that ‘golden world’ Sidney longed for, which only the poet can ‘deliver’. Finally, the Prologue dispenses with the traditionally choric function of helping the audience to judge Tamburlaine’s fortunes by declaring that they may applaud these ‘as [they] please’. It nevertheless expects those fortunes to be received favourably as a result of the eloquence of the play’s cleansed verse. Above all, the play’s persuasive strategies will determine whether its poetic kingdoms are won or lost. Delivering on the Prologue’s promises, the play begins with Mycetes, the King of Persia, asking his brother, Cosroe, to give a ‘great and thund’ring speech’ that will appropriately describe the threat Tamburlaine poses to Persia, which Mycetes declares himself ‘insufficient to express’ (I. i. 2–3). Cosroe obliges, but with a speech that attributes the demise of Persia and the current threat to ‘mangle’ its provinces to the ‘fickle brain’ of its king (I. i. 6–17). After turning to Meander and being persuaded by his eloquent counsel (I. i. 35–50), Mycetes sends Theridamas—whose ‘words are swords’, and whose ‘looks’ conquer ‘all [his] foes’—with a thousand horse against Tamburlaine and his army (I. i. 57–64, 74–75). On encountering Tamburlaine, however, it is Theridamas who is himself conquered by his opponent’s words and looks (I. ii. 227). By the end of Act I, Tamburlaine has also captured Zenocrate and her military escort, and ‘countermanded’ the ‘letters and commands’ for her safe conduct with his own (I. ii. 21–25). In Act II, he uses more ‘working words’ to double-cross Cosroe, who has usurped Mycetes, and thereby ‘reach[es] the ripest fruit of all, / That perfect bliss and sole felicity, / The sweet fruition of an earthly crown’ (II. iii. 25, 42–48; II. vii. 1–10, 27–29). All without striking a physical blow, at least not on stage. Words, not weapons, win Tamburlaine Persia as well as Zenocrate. The play’s obsession with persuasion turns Tamburlaine into a walking hyperbole, indescribable except in the hyperbole Menaphon resorts to at the beginning of Act II, scene i: Of stature tall, and straightly fashionèd, Like his desire, lift upwards and divine; So large of limbs, his joints so strongly knit, Such breadth of shoulders as might manly bear Old Atlas’ burden; ’twixt his manly pitch A pearl more worth than all the world is placed, Wherein by curious sovereignty of art Are fixed his piercing instruments of sight, Whose fiery circles bear encompassèd A heaven of heavenly bodies in their spheres That guides his steps and actions to the throne Where honour sits invested royally; Pale of complexion—wrought in him with passion, Thirsting with sovereignty, with love of arms; His lofty brows in folds do figure death, And in their smoothness amity and life; About them hangs a knot of amber hair Wrappèd in curls, as fierce Achilles’ was, On which the breath of heaven delights to play, Making it dance with wanton majesty; His arms and fingers long and sinewy, Betokening valour and excess of strength: In every part proportioned like the man Should make the world subdued to Tamburlaine. (II. i. 7–30) Tamburlaine’s enemies and admirers may constantly construct and deconstruct him, as Sara Munson Deats suggests, but the shape he holds in the mind’s eye of the audience is surely Menaphon’s astounding word-painting, as Cosroe confirms when he praises the description: ‘Well hast thou portrayed in thy terms of life / The face and personage of a wondrous man’ (II. i. 31–32).13 Menaphon’s striking image of Tamburlaine subdues other characters’ descriptions of him to a rhetorical kingdom in which the enargeia generated by hyperbole enables language to incarnate both the heroic and the mythic. Joel Altman has drawn attention to verbs of art in Menaphon’s description of Tamburlaine: ‘fashionèd’, ‘knit’, ‘placed’, ‘wrought’, and ‘proportioned’. He argues that Marlowe uses these verbs to represent Tamburlaine as a ‘colossal work of art’, a decorously proportioned figure of ‘rare artifice’.14 Subsequently, Mark Thornton Burnett noted a possible etymological pun in the association between ‘stature’ and ‘statue’ in his argument that Menaphon’s aestheticization of Tamburlaine is ‘drawn along [Bakhtin’s] “classical” lines’ in a way that forces the play’s audiences ‘to look up’.15 Both critics stop short of calling Menaphon’s encomium an ekphrasis, probably because ekphrases traditionally describe an artwork that exists independently of and prior to that description. Yet there is nothing traditional about 1 Tamburlaine, as the Prologue tells us. I suggest that in this speech Marlowe is indeed intervening in the tradition of ekphrasis, constructing Tamburlaine as a work of art that the play’s audiences can see in their mind’s eye, and momentarily freezing the action of the main narrative as they pause to imaginatively ‘look up’. Menaphon’s ekphrasis of Tamburlaine simultaneously creates as it describes the protagonist as a work of art. Given that we know from his Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage that Marlowe was an accomplished translator of the Aeneid, I would add that this artwork also evokes Virgil’s epic. Marlowe’s description of ‘the breath of heaven’ playing about the curls on Tamburlaine’s forehead recollects the portentous play of heaven about the temples of Iulus in Book 2 (680–84), for example, and the mention of Tamburlaine’s ‘fingers long and sinewy’ evokes Virgil’s use throughout the Aeneid of fingere as a verb of art.16 Further, as Jonathan Crewe points out, the comparison to Achilles foregrounds Tamburlaine’s ‘potential normativeness’ in a way that ‘not merely opposes but paradoxically represents cultural norms, thus re-establishing a “lost” or eclipsed state of perfection’ (326, 328; emphasis in original). Thus, in the golden world the Prologue promised, Marlowe, ‘freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit’, has brought forth a ‘Hero, a Demigod’, a form ‘quite anew … such as never [was] in Nature’. Respecting the principles of decorum, this ‘form quite anew’ is the appropriate partner for Zenocrate, who, earlier in the play, is constructed as an artwork by Tamburlaine’s ‘working words’: Zenocrate, lovelier than the love of Jove, Brighter than is the silver Rhodope, Fairer than whitest snow on Scythian hills, Thy person is worth more to Tamburlaine Than the possession of the Persian crown, Which gracious stars have promised at my birth. A hundred Tartars shall attend on thee, Mounted on steeds swifter than Pegasus; Thy garments shall be made of Median silk, Enchased with precious jewels of mine own. More rich and valorous than Zenocrate’s; With milk-white harts upon an ivory sled Thou shalt be drawn amidst the frozen pools And scale the icy mountains’ lofty tops, Which with thy beauty will soon be resolved; My martial prizes, with five hundred men, Won on the fifty-headed Volga’s waves, Shall all we offer to Zenocrate, And then my self to fair Zenocrate. (I. i. 2.87–105) Bearing in mind the association between ‘stature’ and ‘statue’ in Menaphon’s aesthetic idolization of Tamburlaine, it is not hard to retrospectively imagine Zenocrate as a kind of ice sculpture, an artwork frozen, together with the action of the main narrative, on an ‘ivory sled’ and ‘drawn amidst the frozen pools’ in Tamburlaine’s ekphrastic description of her. Nor is it hard to imagine that Marlowe is again respecting the principles of decorum in his manipulation of the length of the two ekphrases, with that of Zenocrate (feminine) falling marginally short of that of Tamburlaine (masculine) by five lines. As an animated artwork created by hyperbole, Tamburlaine’s excessive use of that rhetorical figure delivers on the Prologue’s promise of poetic kingdoms scourged by what he says, not what he does. At no time do the audience see Tamburlaine perform an act of violence: the closest he comes to doing so is in a stage direction to ‘pursue’ Bajazeth offstage (III. iii. 211). Tamburlaine doesn’t actually do anything: instead, he ‘subdue[s]’ the world through his use of language, a phenomenon epitomized in the defeat of Bajazeth, his greatest opponent in Part 1: Our conquering swords shall marshal us the way We use to march upon the slaughtered foe, Trampling their bowels with our horses’ hoofs— Brave horses, bred on the white Tartarian hills. My camp is like to Julius Caesar’s host, That never fought but had the victory; Nor in Pharsalia was there ever such hot war As these my followers willingly would have. Legions of spirits fleeting in the air Direct our bullets and our weapons’ points And make your strokes to wound the senseless air; And when she sees our bloody colours spread, Then Victory begins to take her flight, Resting herself upon my milk-white tent. But come, my lords, to weapons let us fall. The field is ours, the Turk, his wife and all. (III. iii. 148–163) Tamburlaine speaks these lines before the battle, not after it, as ‘the slaughtered foe’ in line 149 and the present tense in the final line suggest. The tense shifts from the future in the first line to the past in the second and then to the present in the last line to actualize the victory to come in the ‘now’ of the audience’s heard experience. Tamburlaine has only to ‘speak it, and [his] words are oracles’ (III. iii. 102): the ‘foe’ have been ‘slaughtered’ already by Tamburlaine’s word-swords. Tamburlaine’s speeches have alchemical properties: hyperbole makes his language substance, creating word-pictures of his conquests which enable the audience to picture in their mind’s eye imaginary actions that ‘top his speech’ (II. iii. 26). And so on for the rest of the play, for despite the slaughter of the Damascus virgins and the brainings of Bajazeth and Zabina, Tamburlaine remains liberated from the world of the body, the ‘dungeon’ that according to Sidney we can escape through poetry’s ability to ‘lift up the mind’ by knowledge (104): Tamburlaine’s lofty hyperboles may direct violence but he is never physically involved in it. In the ‘golden world’ Tamburlaine inhabits as an artwork, neither the virgins nor Bajazeth and Zabina are flesh-and-blood bodies any more than his heroic and mythic flesh is that of an actual man. As merely props on the stage of an artwork in action, they are directed by the words Tamburlaine speaks in much the same way as his body language makes Agydas commit suicide and produces the prop he uses to do so: Tamburlaine has only to look ‘wrathfully’ at Agydas for daring to sway Zenocrate back to her betrothed, Arabia, for Techelles to provide the dagger Agydas uses to kill himself (III. ii. 47–106). Having reached the ‘perfection’ (Sidney, 104) of a cleansed poetic kingdom ruled by hyperbole it remains for Tamburlaine to re-shape the genre of the artwork proper. He accomplishes this generic metamorphosis by excising from the play Sidney’s theory of tragedy as that ‘which maketh kings fear to be tyrants, and tyrants manifest their tyrannical humours’ in order to teach its audience ‘the uncertainty of this world’ (117–118). Zenocrate gives voice to this function of tragedy in her response to the sight of the slain Damascus virgins and the brained Bajazeth and Zabina: she prays that Tamburlaine will learn from the ‘bloody spectacle’, and ‘In fear and feeling of the like distress’ avoid retribution from ‘the wavering turns of war’ (V. i. 340, 362–363).17 Yet when Tamburlaine views the carnage, he sees ‘sights of power to grace [his] victory’ rather than tragedy (V. i. 475). Indeed, only when Tamburlaine re-defines the Damascus episode is the scene’s excessive violence mastered by language, scourging tragedy from the play to achieve the comedy signified by the truce and marriage promises. As I hope to have shown, in ‘liberating’ the drama of the period, 1 Tamburlaine freed ekphrasis from its classical moorings, transforming it for the stage with far-reaching dramatic consequences. If nothing in the early modern theatre was ever the same after this play, then Marlowe’s intervention in the tradition of ekphrasis to dramatically realize Sidney’s ‘golden world’ gives us new insights into why and in what ways English drama changed.18 More is at stake here than our discussions of the plays of the period, for the challenge of ekphrasis, as Alessandro Barchiesi reminds us, is ‘the challenge of representation’ itself.19 Footnotes 1 Robert Watson, ‘Tragedy’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama (Cambridge, 2003), 303. Also see Ruth Lunney, Marlowe and the Popular Tradition: Innovation in the English Drama before 1595 (Manchester, 2002), 2 and 312; and Neil Rhodes, ‘Marlowe and the Greeks’, Renaissance Studies, xxvii (2011), 199. 2 For example, Thomas Cartelli calls 1 Tamburlaine the ‘most expressly spellbinding play in the Elizabethan repertory’ in his influential Marlowe, Shakespeare, and the Economy of Theatrical Experience (Philadelphia, 1991), 64. Also see Kimberley Benston, ‘ “Beauty’s Just Applause”: Dramatic Form and the Tamburlainian Sublime’, in Christopher Marlowe (New York, 1986), 208; and Jonathon Crewe, ‘The Theatre of the Idols: Marlowe, Rankins, and Theatrical Images’, Theatre Journal, xxxvi (1984), 325. 3 Murray Krieger, Ekphrasis: The Illusion of the Natural Sign (Baltimore, MD, 1992), 7 and 14. I note here a growing critical interest in ekphrasis in Marlowe’s first play, The Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage. See Efterpi Mitsi, ‘ “What is this but stone?” Priam’s Statue in Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage’, Word and Image, xxvii (2011), 443–9; and Antonio Ziosi’s Didone Regina di Cartagine di Christopher Marlowe: Metamorfosi Virgiliane nel Cinquecentro (Rome, 2015), especially 77–98. 4 Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry, ed. Geoffrey Shepherd (London, 1965), 100. Krieger offers an insightful discussion of Sidney’s responsiveness in the Apology to the ekphrastic impulse based on the quoted passage (126–31). Rhodes examines Marlowe’s recourse to Sidney’s Apology in both Tamburlaine plays in ways other than those I discuss here, especially 207–12. 5 All references from both parts of Tamburlaine the Great are from J. S. Cunningham’s edition for the Revels Plays (Manchester, 1981). As Cunningham notes in his introduction, 10, Marlowe’s play draws on two versions of ‘a prototype Tamburlaine narrative’ that emerged some one hundred years after Timur Khan’s defeat of Bayazid, ‘one in Latin by Petrus Perondinus (Pietro Perondino), and one in English by George Whetstone’. 6 See Cartelli, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Economy, 212n. Critics routinely cite the Prologue to 2 Tamburlaine as evidence of the success of Part 1. It begins as follows: ‘The general welcomes Tamburlaine received / When he arrivèd last upon our stage / Hath made our poet pen his second part’ (1–3). 7 See Emily Bartels, Spectacles of Strangeness: Imperialism, Alienation, and Marlowe (Philadelphia, 1993), 6; Donald Peet, ‘The Rhetoric of Tamburlaine’, English Literary History, xxvi (1959), 153; Herbert Rothschild, ‘The Conqueror-Hero, the Beseiged City, and the Development of an Elizabethan Protagonist’, South Central Review, iii (1986), 62–3. 8 On the play’s structure, see Helen Gardner, ‘The Second Part of Tamburlaine the Great’, in Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine Part One and Part Two: Text and Major Criticism (Indianapolis, 1974), 202; John Gillies, ‘Tamburlaine and Renaissance Geography’, in Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion (New York, 2006), 35. On the play’s violence, see Eugene Hill, ‘Marlowe’s “more Excellent and Admirable method” of Parody in Tamburlaine I’, Renaissance Papers (1995), 38; Gillies, ‘Tamburlaine and Renaissance Geography’, 46; Ethel Seaton, ‘Marlowe’s Light Reading’, in Elizabethan and Jacobean Studies in Honor of Frank Percy Wilson (Oxford, 1959), 20. On the play’s experimentation with form, see C. L. Barber, ‘The Death of Zenocrate: “Conceiving and subduing both” in Marlowe’s Tamburlaine’, Literature and Psychology, xvi (1966), 16; and Benston, ‘ Beauty’s Just Applause ’, 214. 9 John Gillies, ‘Marlowe, the Timur Myth, and the Motives of Geography’, in Playing the Globe: Genre and Geography in English Renaissance Drama (Madison, WI, 1998), 208. 10 Charles Whitney, Early Responses to Renaissance Drama (Cambridge, 2006), 17. 11 As Shepherdcomments in his introduction to Apology for Poetry, 16, the Apology is ‘epoch-marking’ rather than ‘epoch-making’. A number of putative defences of poetry appeared in the period, including Roger Ascham’s The Scholemaster (1570), Thomas Lodge’s A Defence of Poetry (1579), William Webbe’s A Discourse of English Poetrie (1586), and George Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie (1589). 12 In the wrong hands, the theorists claimed, English versifying did not adequately translate the measures of Latin verse, and hence the ‘deformed, unnaturall, and lame’ English poetry about which Roger Ascham writes. Ascham is reproduced in G. Gregory Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, vol. I (Oxford, 1904; reprint 1959), 33. Also see Webbe, in Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, vol I, 240. Of course, there were suitably skilled poets writing in the vernacular, as Thomas Nashe claimed himself to be in the Preface to Robert Greene’s Menaphon (1589), in which he looks forward to the effect of his completed but not yet published Anatomie Of Absurditie (1589): this work, Nashe claims, ‘may acquaint [readers] ere long with [his] skill in surgery, wherein the diseases of Art more merrily discovered may make our maimed Poets put together their blankes unto the building of an Hospitall’. Nashe is reproduced in Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, vol I, 320. Nashe was Marlowe’s friend and his name appears with Marlowe’s on the title page of the 1594 publication of Dido, Queen of Carthage. Ben Jonson’s praise of ‘Marlowe’s mighty line’ is well known. 13 Sara Munson Deats, Sex, Gender and Desire in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe (Newark, 1997), 135. 14 Joel Altman, The Tudor Play of Mind: Rhetorical Inquiry and the Development of Elizabethan Drama (Berkeley, 1978), 328. 15 Mark Thornton Burnett, ‘Tamburlaine and the Body’, Criticism, xxx (1991), 33. 16 Virgil uses fingo for the first time in Aeneid 2 to fashion both Sinon and his false tale (2.79–80, 107). See also 3.18 (of Aeneadae, the city Aeneas builds); 4.148, (of Aeneas); 4.188 (of the tales told by Fama); 4.338 (of Aeneas’ unheroic plans to leave Carthage); 6.80 (of the Sibyl’s message); 7.436 (of Allecto’s tale, which Turnus mocks); 8.42 (of the river-god Tiberinus’ message for Aeneas); 8.365 (of Evander entreating Aeneas to make himself worthy of a deity); 8.634 (of the she-wolf moulding the figures of Romulus and Remus with her tongue); 8.726 (of the figures wrought on Aeneas’ shield); 11.364 (of Drances pretending to be Turnus’ foe); 11.406 (of false fear). References from the Aeneid are from G. P. Goold’s edition for The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, 1916; reprint 1994). 17 For an extended discussion of Zenocrate’s lament and its inefficacy, see Lucy Potter, ‘Informing Audiences: Marlowe’s Early Tragedies’, in Brett D. Hirsch and Christopher Wortham (eds), ‘This Earthly Stage’: World and Stage in Late Medieval and Early Modern England (Turnhout, 2010), 248–53. 18 For Shakespeare’s exchanges with the concept of ekphrasis, see Richard Meek, ‘Ekphrasis in The Rape of Lucrece and The Winter’s Tale’, Studies in English Literature 1500–1900, xxxxvi (2006), 389–414; and Catherine Belsey, ‘Invocation of the Visual Image: Ekphrasis in Lucrece and Beyond’, Shakespeare Quarterly, lxiii (2012), 175–98. 19 Alessandro Barchiesi, ‘Ecphrasis’, in Charles Martindale (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Virgil (Cambridge, 1997), 27. © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com

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