Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Linda Shenk


Christopher Marlowe's The Massacre at Paris reflects the anxieties and hopes of the English people in the late 1580s and early 1590s. Because of the play's topicality in relation to the French Wars of Religion, it has often been dismissed as little more than Protestant propaganda. A closer examination of The Massacre, however, reveals the special attention that Marlowe paid to the rhetoric used in contemporary Anglo-French diplomacy and its political repercussions. This thesis examines these rhetorical components and their effects on the characters and storyline within three political spheres: the Neo-Stoic rhetoric of Navarre and its relation to the shared Neo-Stoic rhetoric between the historical Henri IV and Elizabeth I, the politics of Guise onstage and the concept of rhetorical control as applied to both Guise and Marlowe, and the religio-political coding of educational rhetoric in the Ramus scene and the suggestion of education as a possible ameliorative to religious strife. Through this examination, this thesis seeks to prove that The Massacre at Paris is a text far more complicated and relevant than has thus far been realized and that it deserves closer examination in relation to the political atmosphere contemporary to Marlowe's composition of the play.

Copyright Owner

Hayley Coble



Date Available


File Format


File Size

149 pages