chapter
12 Pages

Introduction

This chapter shows that Marlowe's plays, however, prove to be more complex than Tamburlaine's performance: the variety inherent in a world that spans the miles of the Earth and not the inches of a page is too great for Tamburlaine to appropriate. Tamburlaine finds himself and his surroundings to be too mutable to be entirely appropriated into a campaign of singular self-fashioning and similarly the audience is faced with a moral labyrinth in which no reward seems to come of virtue. It is this tension between Tamburlaine's reductive goals and the complexity of the world he inhabits that will form. As well as reducing the world to a map, Tamburlaine attempts to perform a similar act of reduction upon himself to present through rhetoric and stagecraft his three-dimensional self as a two-dimensional image. The image is a relentless war machine and is monolithic. Tamburlaine's projection strives to suppress any suggestion of elements of his identity which diverge from it.