Edward II


Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4.5 stars; 15 reviews)

Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan tragedy focuses on the downfall of King Edward II, whose love for his favorite courtier, Piers Gaveston, leads to rebellion. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)

Cast
Gaveston: Chuck Williamson
King Edward II: Martin Geeson
Lancaster/Berkeley: Todd
Mortimer Senior/Monks/Matrevis: Ric F
Mortimer Junior: mb
Earl of Kent: Arielle Lipshaw
Earl of Warwick/Sir John of Hainault/Lightborn: Alan Mapstone
Bishops of Coventry, Winchester, and Canterbury/Spencer Senior: Algy Pug
Queen Isabella/Narrator: Elizabeth Klett
Pembroke/Mower/Gurney: Thomas Cardwell
Prince Edward: Charlotte Duckett
Spencer Junior: Robin King
Baldock: om123
Leicester: Joseph Abell
First Poor Man/Earl of Arundel/First Lord: bala
Third Poor Man/Rice Ap Howell/Trussel/Second Lord: Amanda Friday
King's Niece: Libby Gohn
Messenger/Herald: Caprisha Page

Audio edited by Elizabeth Klett (2 hr 54 min)

Chapters

Act 1 49:31 Read by LibriVox Volunteers
Act 2 33:24 Read by LibriVox Volunteers
Act 3 20:49 Read by LibriVox Volunteers
Act 4 25:47 Read by LibriVox Volunteers
Act 5 44:30 Read by mb

Reviews

Good, but not as good as some of Shakespeare's


(4 stars)

It’s always interesting to listen to Elizabethan plays which aren’t Shakespeare. It lets you see how much of the grandeur of his work is based one what, back then, was a sort of national style. Marlowe does good work here, and the readers in the Librivox version are great, but he’s let down a little by the historical events he’s chosen to portray, and the political slant he takes. Basically this is the period where Edward II is infatuated with Piers Gaveston, and splits his realm in half over it. I presume I’m meant to be on Edward’s side, as he loses everything for love. It is, however, hard favour him, because he goes about the whole business in such a dreadfully stupid way. If he’d just kept Gaveston as an Extra Gentleman of the Wardrobe, it would have been considered a bit odd, but since he’d already fathered an heir, it would have been easy enough for him to get away with. Some of the Stewarts get away with this sort of thing. His flaw is that he wants to make his lover the most powerful noble other than him in the Realm. Powerful forces of reaction rise up and destroy him. Then Marlowe chickens out on the real historical drama and has Edward III roll in and kill the conspirators. In real life, the queen and her lover, Mortimer, controlled the kingdom. Young Edward, knowing he’d be killed if he got in their way, played a masterful game of pretending to be a young buffoon. He used tournaments and binges to mask the consolidation of a power bloc within the younger generation and those disaffected with the current regime. Then, with a band of his tournament friends, he captured and executed Mortimer, and forced his mother into a nunnery. I think Edward’s early life is a great story, and Marlowe just skips it entirely.