Christopher Marlowe was born in February 1564, the same year as Shakespeare. He attended the University of Cambridge and graduated with an M.A. After graduating he moved to London where he became a playwright. He produced seven plays, and all of them were very popular. His best known plays were Dr.Faustus, Tamburlaine and The Jew of Malta. His work was later adopted by many of his contemporaries, including William Shakespeare. In fact, Shakespeare's early histories were strongly influenced by Marlowe, and he paid tribute to him in As You Like It as the "dead shepherd". .
Christopher Marlowe was influential, yet he led a violent life. In 1589 he was involved in a street fight where the poet T.Watson killed a man. Early in 1592 he was deported from the Netherlands for forging gold coins. He was also accused of heresy, was arrested and later put on probation. Shortly after his release, he was involved in a fight and was stabbed in the head. After his death many accusations took place. He was accused of homosexuality, atheism, and treason. In spite of his violent life, Marlowe was highly admired, was very popular, and was certainly an influential figure.
Dr Faustus, as I have stated, is one of his most famous works. It was written around 1592, however, the date is not certain since the work was published nearly ten years later than it was written. The basic plot of the story is that a man sells his soul to the devil in return of gaining immense power for twentyfour years. It deals with the themes that Christianity had been so involved with, but deals with it from the other end of the spectrum. In it, there is the idea of sin. Dr Faustus makes a contract with the Devil, which is the ultimate sin since he is acting in contrary with God and his will. Yet, Christian understanding issues forgiveness and redemption. Even though he has disobeyed God, Christian ideology states that everyone can ask for forgiveness since Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of man.