King Edward's infatuation with a lowly courtier earns him the disgust of England's barons and earls. Civil war follows when Edward's wife, Isabella, forms an adulterous alliance with the nobleman Mortimer. But one deadly sin leads to another, as Mortimer's own ambitions and desires lead him to contemplate a hideous murder.
Shakespeare's contemporary, Christopher Marlowe, wrote this play shortly before his violent death in 1593. The story is based on the history of King Edward II, who really was forced to abdicate the English throne after his court was rocked by allegations of favoritism. In the play, Edward loses rule because of his human failings but gains self-understanding. Mortimer, the nobleman who rises as Edward falls, is corrupted by his aspirations to power.