Write a note on Marlowe's use of blank verse in Edward II.

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Blank verse is generally defined as unrhymed verse written in iambic pentameter. In fact, blank verse is not limited to unrhymed verse written in iambic pentameter but can be unrhymed verse written in any meter.

Edward II was Christopher Marlowe's fifth play, written about 1592, coming after Dido, Queen of Carthage (c. 1586), Tamburlaine parts 1 and 2 (c.1587-88), The Jew of Malta (c. 1589), and Doctor Faustus (c. 1589). All of these plays are written primarily in blank verse, in unrhymed iambic pentameter.

Although Christopher Marlowe wasn't the first English dramatist to write his plays in blank verse—that honor goes to Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, who wrote Gorboduc in 1561—Marlowe was the first dramatist to break from the stiff, formal, precise (and boring) line of da-DUM da-DUM da-Dum da-DUM da-DUM, endlessly repeated, of earlier plays.

Marlowe varied the interior rhythms of his verse and brought the poetry more in line with the natural flow and rhythms of everyday speech. Marlowe's verse was still clearly poetry—nobody really talks like that—but his poetry was more nuanced and expressive, and carried considerably more dramatic impact. For these reasons, too, the characters in Marlowe's plays had greater emotional range and depth, and the audience could empathize with the characters to a much greater extent.

Because it closely resembled colloquial speech, Marlowe's verse was also more accessible to the audience. It invited the audience to listen to words and appreciate the poetry and lyricism of each line, which helped the audience to better understand the play as a whole.

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Here, as elsewhere, Marlowe uses blank verse as a way of giving his audience the best of both worlds. On the one hand, blank verse, despite its lack of rhyme, is recognizably poetic. In writing Edward II, Marlowe wasn't attempting to transcribe speech as it is actually spoken. The language he uses is consciously poetic in order to heighten the overall dramatic effect.

On the other hand, however, Marlowe doesn't want to let go of the vitality and sense of immediacy of the spoken word. Blank verse ably fulfills this function too; it is such a flexible verse form that it can capture the cadences and rhythms of everyday speech without drawing attention to itself. Take the following lines, for example:

Here, take my crown, the life of Edward too,
Two kings in England cannot reign at once. (act 5, scene 1)

At once evocative of natural speech and consciously poetic, this is a prime example of Marlowe's use of blank verse, which allows him to do so many different things with words.

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Blank verses is any unrhymed verses composed in one meter, usually iambic pentameter.  The meter is what makes it different than free verse. 

Christopher Marlowe was the first English writer to use it and it was referred to as his "mighty line".  He is responsible for popularizing it and why Shakespeare decided to use it as well.   

Here is an example of one of Marlowe's best work using blank verse, you can see the richness in the text:

Was this the face that launched 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 be 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 sacked;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colors on my plumed crest:
Yeah, I will wound Achilles on 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 . . .
                        Faustus, Scene 13, ll. 80-95
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