Christopher Marlowe's Poems

Christopher Marlowe's Poems Character List


A friend of the lover in Amores. He serves mainly as a sounding board for the lover to discuss his troubles with Corinna.


The mistress in Amores. A vain and selfish young woman, married to a rich man. Corinna is not to be considered a template (meaning a pattern or a role model) for a young man's lover in Ancient Rome, or a portrait of a person who actually lived. In poetry of this kind, the mistress as well as the lover represent a stock character created to give the poet a vehicle for expressions of certain pre-determined types of emotions. Amores is not a chronicle of any of Corinna's real loves and disappointments, but rather a story of a Roman "mistress" made up to facilitate Ovid exercising his wit. Corinna is portrayed as debased, unfaithful, jealous, unreasonable, and cruel. Her only consistent virtue is physical beauty.

The old bawd

An old woman of ill repute who tries to advise Corinna on exploiting her lover. Yet another of the stock characters of this kind of Roman love poetry. Old women who were prostitutes at one time, or who were involved with bordellos were seen, not surprisingly, as the worst kind of influence on a young woman.


A messenger in the first Book of Ovid's Amores. There are no significant details about him.


A priestess of the goddess Venus, living in Sestos on the Hellespont. A young woman of such extreme beauty she is considered by some to be divine. Her beauty, however, has thus far not given her happiness. She is a sworn virgin, and therefore the suitors for her affections are all turned away or kill each other in competition for her. Hero lives in a tower near the sea, with only a dwarf woman for a servant. She has no family or other protectors, and none to advise her as to what to do about Leander.


A handsome youth, living in Abydos on the Hellespont. Leander is described in even more detail than Hero, and is of equally unbelievable beauty. He is so handsome that he is often mistaken for a woman, and desired by other men. He has been carefully raised and seems to have very little knowledge of the world. We meet his father briefly in this poem, but Leander does not confide in him about his love for Hero.


Legendary Greek writer, whose work was the origin for the poem Hero and Leander. Though it is not known if such a person ever actually existed, he is thought to have lived during the Byzantine Empire.

Sir Roger Manwood

A judge Marlowe held in high esteem. He was a Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and a barrister (criminal lawyer). He was a Kentish man, like Marlowe.


The speaker in "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love." He is not a typical sixteenth-century shepherd, as he is able to woo his love not only with careful poetry, but with rich material gifts for her apparel. Marlowe's Shepherd is a pastoral fantasy, and not based on any real shepherds of his time.


Corinna's maidservant. She is not trusted by Corinna, and rightly so. She has an affair with Corinna's lover.

Julius Caesar

A general of Ancient Rome, and its first emperor. During the time described in Lucan's first book, Caesar was at war with Rome. He wanted dictatorial power, and the republican Rome was unwilling to be dominated by this highly successful and ambitious soldier.


A general of Rome. He was in opposition to the dictatorship proposed by Julius Caesar. A rival of Caesar (and at one time married to Caesar's daughter, Julia) he represented the republican interests of the Senate and People of Rome.


A prominent Roman citizen and political man. He was a famous orator, and son of an equally famous orator. He had tried to make Pompey and Caesar come to terms before the Roman Civil War.


A centurion in a Roman legion. He was chosen to speak to the troops because of his trustworthy character.