Edward II by Christopher Marlowe

Title: Edward II.
Author: Christopher Marlowe.
Date: 1592.

Genre: Historical.
Language Difficulty Rating: 4 (slightly difficult).
Setting: England, 1307-1330.

The history play Edward II represents the ultimate affirmation of Christopher Marlowe’s power and skill as a dramatist, and is to boot the only play of his which can be confidently stated to be an unadulterated example of his work. Frequently referring to, but generally by-passing, most of the important political developments of Edward’s reign (1307-1327), the story focuses in laser-like fashion on Edward’s weakness of character and obsession with his personal favourites; the result is a tragedy of the highest order.

Our Story: King Edward I has just died, and his son, also Edward, ascends the throne. His first order of business is to recall his bosom favourite, Piers Gaveston from exile. Unfortunately for the kingdom, the new sovereign is only interested in playing with his minion, rather than governing, and England’s leading nobles are getting very angry…

Download and Read Edward II:


Online Reading:
Annotated Edition, pdf

White Background for Printing:
Annotated Edition, pdf

Theatre Script:
Edward II Script


Still-Familiar Words and Phrases that Research Suggests Appeared
in English Literature for the First Time in Edward II:

my stars (used as an expression of surprise)
or else (an implied threat)
the expression “full of secrecy”
hooded cloak
“long life and happiness”
to “make quick work” of something
“period of my life”
“the day grows old”
to “vanish fast”
collocation of peal and thunder
to “run one’s horse to death”