King Edward II: A Tragic Hero

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Edward II was born on April 25, 1284. He was born at Caernafon Castle in Wales. On July 7, 1307, when his father, Edward I died, he became a new king. In history Edward II is known as someone who had been spending most of his time as a young man in gambling and luxury. He also loved music and dancing and he enjoyed in watching plays, as Gaveston mentioned in Marlowe’s play: “I must have wanton Poets, pleasant wits, Musitians, that with touching of a string May draw the pliant king which way I please: Musicke and poetrie is his delight;” ( Marlowe, line 51-54, 1594) These are definitely signs of a cultured man. However,…show more content…
He appears to be trivial, pitiful, pointles and even pathetic character. Presenting Edward II’s character, Christopher Marlowe tried a new style of character portrayal and he definetely succeeded in it. In the first part of the play Edward II is a consistent character, but in the last part his character begins to change, so ambiguity of his character is notable to the readers. King Edward II showed his assertive personality since the beggining of the play when he went against his peers and barons in order to have his minion Gaveston back at court. He made a huge mistake because he shamelessly showed favouritism and he ignored the barons. Edward was ready to split up the kingdom in order to keep Piers Gaveston with him. He was not afraid of anyone, not even of his wife, and he lived the life the way he wanted. At the same time he was a victim of a malicious crime by his wife Isabella and her lover Mortimer, but when he realised that it was too late. Therefore, his incompetence and negligence led him to his deposition and murder. Marlowe’s Edward II earns no respect until his imprisonment when he realizes what he has lost in losing the kingship. Edward II lived like a reckless and irresponsible youth and he maybe didn’t want to become a king, maybe he wanted to live another kind of life. Regardeless that, he was born to be a ruler, but he did not grow up to be a good one. He was a king and he could not…show more content…
He finally knew what it took to be a good king and Edward II realized that even kings who have status, position and power are also mortals and human beings, just like ordinary people. He was well aware of the fact that it was too late for him and for his savation, but despite that, there was no cowardice in his mind, there was only clear mind in a weary body that peacfully welcomed inevitable death. Edward’s death scene is definitely the most famous scene of Chrsitopher Marlowe’s play. Thus, the real-life death of King Edward II made an impact on historical accounts and that impact is arguably evident in Marlowe’s play. The death scene of Edward II presented in this play inspire terror and pity. At the end of this play, Edward becomes more human, vulnerable and sympathetic character. He is not a wicked figure anymore, but he is a man who ends as a broken and destroyed person. Edward II dies as a real tragic hero, actually as a
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