The age in which Marlowe conceived his play was the age which saw the full flowering of the Renaissance in England. This ‘complex, many-sided movement’ had begun in Italy two hundred years earlier; it had grown in strength and had spread; and early in the sixteenth century it had reached even the remote British Isles. Wherever its influence penetrated, great things were achieved in the arts, and especially in the arts of painting, sculpture, architecture, and poetry. In English literature, its representatives include Spenser, Bacon, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, and Milton. They include also Marlowe himself.