The Jew of Maltaby Christopher Marlowe, N. W. Bawcutt (Editor)
The spirit of Machiavelli presides over The Jew of Malta, in which the title character relentlessly plots to maintain and extend his political influence and wealth. A paragon of remorseless evil, Barabas befriends and betrays the Turkish invaders and native Maltese alike, incites a duel between the suitors for his daughter's hand, and takes lethal revenge upon a convent of nuns. Both tragedy and farce, this masterpiece of Elizabethan theater reflects the social and political complexities of its age. Christopher Marlowe's dramatic hybrid resonates with racial tension, religious conflict, and political intrigue -- all of which abounded in sixteenth-century England. The playwright, who infused each one of his plays with cynical humor and a dark world view, draws upon stereotypes of Muslim and Christian as well as Jewish characters to cast an ironic perspective on all religious beliefs. The immediate success of The Jew of Malta on the Elizabethan stage is presumed to have influenced Marlowe's colleague, William Shakespeare, to draw upon the same source material for The Merchant of Venice. The character of Barabas is the prototype for the well-known Shylock, and this drama of his villainy remains a satirical gem in its own right.
“The great strength of Mathew Martin’s edition is the ease of access it gives scholars and students to one of Marlowe’s strangest and most disturbing plays. He achieves this not simply by exemplary annotations, but by framing Marlowe’s text within an introduction and richly informative appendices that place the play securely in its contemporary social, cultural, and political contexts, enabling readers to negotiate complexities of tone and racial attitudes with subtle insight. The effect is precisely to highlight the daring originality of Marlowe’s dramatic artistry and his exacting control of both the arts of performance and his audience’s responses.” Richard Allen Cave, Emeritus Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London
“The Jew of Malta is one of early modern England’s most controversial plays on its most controversial topicthe collision of world religions. Martin’s terrific new edition brilliantly captures the gist of its cut-and-thrust. The introduction offers readers a sophisticated entrée into Anglo-Ottoman relations, European anti-Semitism, theatre history, and Machiavellianism. The edition is elegantly edited, with many resources for readers who want to understand one of Marlowe’s greatest plays in its historical milieu.” Alan Shepard, President of Concordia University
Meet the Author
Mathew R. Martin is Full Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews