Staging the Self: Storytelling and Self-Narration in Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great and John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi

Demir Alihodžić


This paper examines the use of dramatic techniques of storytelling and self-narration on the English stage in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, with an emphasis on Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great and John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi. The playwrights of the period were negotiating their way in a new world in which language was a medium which was coming more and more to be respected, and those who could command it had the potential for advancement in ways never before conceivable. In the forefront of those negotiating for such a place through their dramaturgy were Christopher Marlowe and John Webster. They may be considered the instigators in the development of the self on the English stage in the early modern period through storytelling and self-narration as representational techniques. The paper also examines some of the profound changes in dramaturgy which took place in the period in question and which culminated in the drama of Marlowe and Webster.


English Renaissance Drama; Christopher Marlowe; John Webster; Tamburlaine the Great; The Duchess of Malfi; storytelling; self-narration

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