Christopher Marlowe's Poems

The Poet and the Narrator in Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander

In Christopher Marlowe's narrative poem Hero and Leander, a major obstacle confronts the reader in the form of attempting to separate the narrative voice of the poet Marlowe from that which W.L. Godshalk calls "the sensibility of a dramatized narrator. . . who stands between us and the lovers" (307). David Farkas, in his "Problems of Interpretation in Marlowe's Hero and Leander," points out that he hears "two voices in the narrative: the genuine Marlovian voice and the hidden narrator's (Knoll 129). In light of these observations, the question arises as to the means of distinguishing between the dual voices present in the poem. Godshalk asks "Is it Marlowe or the narrator who is so taken with Leander's physical beauty and with Hero's pretended innocence even as she coquettishly leads him on?" (308). Thus, Hero and Leander, in regards to the poet/narrator question, "builds its own mysteries and demands a variety of responses" which are "compounded by the fact that we see (the characters) through the eyes of Marlowe, the poet, and through those of an intrusive narrator" (Levin 140).

Before we proceed on the discussion of the dual voices in Hero and Leander,...

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