Tamburlaine the Great

Themes

The play is often linked to Renaissance humanism which idealises the potential of human beings. Tamburlaine's aspiration to immense power raises profound religious questions as he arrogates for himself a role as the "scourge of God" (an epithet originally applied to Attila the Hun). Some readers have linked this stance with the fact that Marlowe was accused of atheism. Others have been more concerned with a supposed anti-Muslim thread of the play, highlighted in a scene in which the main character burns the Qur'an.

Jeff Dailey notes in his article "Christian Underscoring in Tamburlaine the Great, Part II that Marlowe's work is a direct successor to the traditional medieval morality plays,[5] and that, whether or not he is an atheist, he has inherited religious elements of content and allegorical methods of presentation.


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