Christopher Marlowe’s Lightborne and the Chester Mystery Cycle

  • Jennifer Lillian Lodine-Chaffey Washington State University Tri-Cities


While scholars have noted the influence of the medieval mystery cycles on the plays of Christopher Marlowe for some time, few have explored Edward II’s fictional assassin Lightborne in relation to the Chester Mystery Cycle. This essay analyzes the depiction of the Cycle’s demon Lightborne to suggest connections between the fallen angel’s role as divine punisher and the depiction of Marlowe’s fictitious murderer. A close comparison of the Chester Cycle’s Lightborne to the Marlovian murderer suggests not only the demonic characteristics of Marlowe’s Lightborne, but also reveals how the playwright subverts his audience’s understanding of divine providence.