So because fate might be real and everything I thought was true is probably wrong, I arbitrarily decided to watch the movie 24 Hour Party People this past weekend. And then on Wednesday we transcribed 5.6:59-61 of Edward II, which I missed the first time I read it. Mortimer is talking about the wheel of fortune and how he was kind of fated to fall as all people are (fate being an idea that Marlowe seems to have been occupied by), and the movie posits a similar idea about the wheel of fortune, as seen in this clip:
So according to Wikipedia (I tried to find a more academic source that served as a quick biography but there didn’t seem to be any) Boethius was a Roman senator and philosopher from the 6th century c.e. and the author of the Consolation of Philosophy (which can be read here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14328) and I think that the movie is paraphrasing this part:
“I turn the wheel that spins. I delight to see the high come down and the low ascend. Mount up, if thou wilt, but only on condition that thou wilt not think it a hardship to come down when the rules of my game require it.” (47)
This sort of lines up with what Mortimer is talking about. He’s accepting of his fate, even if he’s not too happy about it (“Base Fortune”), because he realizes that this is just how things go, how the wheel turns. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that Boethius was taught at Oxford while Marlowe was there, although maybe this was just a general concept at the time. But I found it to be a weird confluence that I encountered both of these around the same time. Like I tried to say in class, I’m not sure that Marlowe is trying to put a moral here, I think he’s just being observant of this particular philosophy, that life is a wheel and that you should expect the fall to come with your ambitions.