On this day in theatre history in 1593 Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Council issued a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Marlowe on charges of spreading “blasphemous and damnable opinions.” Five days earlier Marlowe’s roommate and fellow playwright, Thomas Kyd, had also been arrested on similar charges; under torture (apparently a set piece on the rack called “scraping the conscience”), Kyd had claimed that the offending documents in his possession were in fact Marlowe’s. While prosecutors prepared for trial Marlowe was allowed out on bail; the day before his scheduled court appearance on May 31, 1593, and at just twenty-nine years of age, Marlowe was killed in a drunken brawl in Deptford, a dagger through his eye.
(Swiped in its entirety from the “Today in Literature” website. Written by Steve King. http://www.todayinliterature.com/stories.asp?Event_Date=5/18/1593)