In the early 15th century, the Middle East is being rocked by the conqueror, Tamburlaine. A former shepherd from Scythia, Tamburlaine has amassed an army of renegade followers and is quickly taking over central Asia. After an internal power-struggle between the King of Persia and his brother creates an opening for Tamburlaine to conquer Persepolis, he and his three viceroys, Techelles, Usumcasane and Theridamas, set their sights on Africa and, after that, the entire world. Along the way, Tamburlaine conquers Egypt and captures the princess Zenocrate, who becomes his queen and greatest love.
Tamburlaine the Great is loosely based on the historical conquests of Timur in the 14th Century, and was so popular that Marlowe wrote a second play to satisfy audiences who demanded to hear more about Tamburlaine's exploits. The play is considered by scholars to be one of the first truly popular pieces of English language theatre, and Marlowe’s use of verse defined the genre for the next century. The Tamburlaine plays are littered with masterfully-composed monologues in verse, mostly delivered by the golden-tongued Tamburlaine himself.
Tamburlaine The Great Part I guide sections