A contemporary of William Shakespeare (he was about 2 months older than the Bard), Marlowe was a prolific writer in the years leading up to his premature death. He published 5 plays, including The Jew of Malta, Tamburlaine and Dr Faustus, as well as numerous translations including a version of Ovid's Elegies.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with controversial historical figures, he has been remembered more for the puzzling aspects of his life and the unexplained circumstances of his death, than for his outstanding literary talent.
On May 18th 1593, a warrant was issued by the Privy Council for Marlowe's arrest. He was accused of having written some material that was deemed 'heretical' by the government of the day. Upon hearing of the warrant, Marlowe duly presented himself to the Privy Council on May 20th, only to be told that the Council was not sitting on that day. He was instructed to make daily reports of his whereabouts to the authorities until his case was heard, an obligation he fulfilled faithfully. Until May 30th, that is, when he got involved in a bar fight over an unpaid bill, during which he was faithfully stabbed.
The mind boggles at the possibilities ...
For more about the Shakespearean authorship controversy, read: