Every critic has their favourite theory. This essay written in 1997 proposes that Christopher Marlowe was not killed in a pub brawl in Deptford but was helped to escape from England and continued to write whilst in exile in Padua, Italy.
I wrote this as an entry to the Calvin Hoffman Prize which is open every year to anyone who can prove that Marlowe either contributed to the works of Shakespeare or could have possibly written the entire canon.
The Hoffman Trust was set up by Calvin Hoffman a retired American theatre critic who had written a book in 1955 called The Man Who Was Shakespeare. It was inspired by the research of J Leslie Hotson who had uncovered the true story of the inquest following Marlowe’s murder in a Deptford tavern.
Christopher Marlowe had worked on behalf of the Elizabeth’s secret service since his days at Cambridge. He spent time Rheims where there was a Catholic Seminary. His absences caused the authorities to refuse his MA but following a letter from some of the highest ranking members of Church and State confirming his secret work, the degree was awarded.
The events of 30 May 1593 at the house of Dame Eleanor Bull in Deptford have been the subject of much speculation down the centuries. Was Marlowe murdered to prevent him confessing secrets under torture, or was his death faked and he was smuggled out of the country by members of the secret service?
The truth will never be known and there are so many theories abounding. This essay with new preface and introduction states that Marlowe did escape and live in exile possibly in Northern Italy. From here he continued to write and the plays accredited to William Shakespeare contain clues throughout that point to the authorship of Christopher Marlowe.