Animalistic Imagery In Tamburlaine

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Marlowe’s images are mainly decorative and ornamental. For example, Mycetes’ horses with their milk-white legs fantastically splashed with crimson blood are a decorative detail. When Tamburlaine says that he will “Batter the shining palace of the Sun, /And shiver all the starry firmament” (p.89), Marlowe reaches the highest of purely decorative imagery. Ellis-Fermor considers that in Tamburlaine, “there is much that is not effective rhetoric.” In this case, Marlowe’s images are not in harmony with the emotions forming the background of the passage and serve rather to illustrate them than to imply any association. There is no harmony between the individual image and its setting. The imagery in Tamburlaine does not lack power, though it is most effective when one rhetorical image leads on to another. Tamburlaine’s description of his triumph in the last act of Part I is an example of such effective, cumulative series of little pictures which according to Ellis-Fermor “no one… can be…show more content…
Throughout the beginning of Tamburlaine’s rise, rival kings and emperors consistently referred to him and his men in animalistic terminology, for example calling Tamburlaine savage or incivil (p.4), or, doubly implying that he is either deity or beast, noting that he “was never sprung of human race” (p.24), and that his troops “lie in ambush waiting for a prey.” (p.17) The imagery of animalism in reference to Tamburlaine is not only an insult to his character, but also a clue of his inferior birth. While Tamburlaine may never directly hear these insults, it is almost as if he perceives them as he turns around and punishes formerly mighty kings as animals once he has gained authority. Marlowe compares Tamburlaine to a beast in the latter’s abuses of former royalty. Though, like all things Tamburlaine does, he takes fighting like a beast to the extreme. The effect is a monarch almost entirely devoid of a human nature or a

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