Study Guide

Shakespeare in Love Christopher Marlowe (Rupert Everett)

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Christopher Marlowe (Rupert Everett)

His Best Friend's Dead-ing

Christopher "Kit" Marlowe is based on a real-life historical figure of the same name. The real-life Christopher Marlowe was young and dreamy, with flowing hair and gorgeous eyes, and he was a successful playwright. Sound familiar? He sounds a lot like how Shakespeare is portrayed in this movie…

Which is a bit of meta irony, because some people believe that Marlowe, who wrote Doctor Faustus, faked his death and wrote under the penname of… wait for it… William Shakespeare.

In the film, Marlowe might as well have written Romeo and Juliet because he gives Shakespeare the whole basic plot:

"Romeo is Italian, always in and out of love."

"The daughter of his enemy."

"Best friend is killed in a duel."

"Mercutio, good name." 

But, in a twist, Shakespeare tells Wessex that his name is Marlowe, causing a bit of identity confusion (a common Shakespeare trope) that ends up in Marlowe's death. Or at least that's what Will thinks before learning that Marlowe accidentally stabbed himself in the eye with a knife in a barroom duel. What a way to go.

Will respects Marlowe in death, but to further the conspiracy theory, could it be because Will is Marlowe? Maybe there's a bit of Fight Club­-esque dual identity going on here, with two actors playing two parts of the same person's identity?

Okay, it's doubtful. We're just trying to make something more of this character… who only gets two scenes in the film.

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