Lust’s Dominion

Lust’s Dominion is a “blood and horror” type play of the same type as Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, or Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy.  It is very much in the style of Christopher Marlowe, leading many to believe that he may have indeed been the original playwright.   Previous to 1825, in fact, there was no question on the matter.  The play was Marlowe’s and there were no other serious contenders.

Lufts Dominion (a)

The question was raised in that year by J. P. Collier who pointed out that the speech of the dying king in Act One, scene two was based upon an account of the last words of King Philip II of Spain which was entered into the Stationer’s Register in 1599.  As Marlowe had been dead since 1593, this seriously called into question his ability to write the scene.  Who then, write the play?  Collier had an answer for that as well.  He pointed out that Philip Henslowe had recorded a payment of £3 to Dekker, William Houghton, and John Day for a play titled The Spanish Moor’s Tragedy.  Could this be the play we now know as Lust’s Dominion?  It was suggested by F. G. Fleay that the play seems pre-Shakespearean, and that perhaps Marlowe and Dekker worked on it together.  That last point is not to be taken seriously, as Dekker’s career had certainly not begun by the time of Marlowe’s death.  In 1958 another piece of the puzzle was added by K. Gustave Cross who pointed out that much of the style of John Marston was present in the  play.  The current consensus seems to be that Marston wrote the play, or perhaps rewrote an earlier Marlowe play, and then Dekker, Houghton and Day added some touches.  Henry Chettle’s name has also come up as a possible reviser.

The play was not published until 1657.

Dramatis Personæ and dedications

Act One, Scene One
Act one, Scene Two
Act Two, Scene One
Act Two, Scene Two
Act Two, Scene Three
Act Three, Scene One
Act Three, Scene Two
Act Three, Scene Three
Act Three, Scene Four
Act Four, Scene One
Act Four, Scene Two
Act Four, Scene Three
Act Four, Scene Four
Act Five, Scene One
Act Five, Scene Two
Act Five, Scene Three

Return to Dekker page.


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