The Jew of Malta

The Jew of Malta

4.8 4
by Christopher Marlowe
     
 

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'Tell me worldlings, underneath the sun, If greater falsehood ever has been done'


The Jew of Malta, written around 1590, can present a
challenge for modern audiences. Hugely popular in its day, the play
swings wildly and rapidly in genre, from pointed satire, to bloody
revenge tragedy, to melodrmatic intrigue, to dark farce and

Overview

'Tell me worldlings, underneath the sun, If greater falsehood ever has been done'


The Jew of Malta, written around 1590, can present a
challenge for modern audiences. Hugely popular in its day, the play
swings wildly and rapidly in genre, from pointed satire, to bloody
revenge tragedy, to melodrmatic intrigue, to dark farce and grotesque
comedy. Although set in the Mediterranean island of Malta, the play
evokes contemporary Elizabethan social tensions, especially the highly
charged issue of London's much-resented community of resident merchant
foreigners. Barabas, the enormously wealthy Jew of the play's title,
appears initially victimized by Malta's Christian Governor, who quotes
scripture to support the demand that Jews cede their wealth to pay
Malta's tribute to the Turks. When he protests, Barabas is deprived of
his wealth, his means of livelihood, and his house, which is converted
to a nunnery. In response to this hypocritical extortion, Barabas
launches a horrific (and sometimes hilarious) course of violence that
goes well beyond revenge, using murderous tactics that include
everything from deadly soup to poisoned flowers. The play's sometimes
complex treatment of anti-Semitism and its relationship to
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice remain matters of continuing scholarly reflection.


This student edition contains a lengthy Introduction with background
on the author, date and sources, theme, critical interpretation and
stage history, as well as a fully annotated version of the playtext in
modern spelling.


James R. Siemon is Professor of English at Boston University.



Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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 topic—the 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

Richard Allen Cave
"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."
Alan Shepard
"The Jew of Malta is one of early modern England's most controversial plays on its most controversial topic—the 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."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781408144909
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
11/25/2013
Series:
New Mermaids
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
3 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

The editor, James R Siemon is Professor of English Literature at Boston University.
Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) was an English playwright and poet, who through his establishment of blank verse as a medium for drama did much to free the Elizabethan theatre from the constraints of the medieval and Tudor dramatic tradition. His first play Tamburlaine the Great, was performed that same year, probably by the Admiral's Men with Edward Alleyn in the lead. With its swaggering power-hungry title character and gorgeous verse the play proved to be enormously popular; Marlowe quickly wrote a second part, which may have been produced later that year. Marlowe's most famous play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, based on the medieval German legend of the scholar who sold his soul to the devil, was probably written and produced by 1590, although it was not published until 1604. Historically the play is important for utilizing the soliloquy as an aid to character analysis and development. The Jew of Malta (c. 1590) has another unscrupulous aspiring character at its centre in the Machiavellian Barabas. Edward II (c. 1592), which may have influenced Shakespeare's Richard II, was highly innovatory in its treatment of a historical character and formed an important break with the more simplistic chronicle plays that had preceded it. Marlowe also wrote two lesser plays, Dido, Queen of Carthage (date unknown) and The Massacre at Paris (1593), based on contemporary events in France. Marlowe was killed in a London tavern in May 1593. Although Marlowe's writing career lasted for only six years, his four major plays make him easily the most important predecessor of Shakespeare.
James R. Siemon is a professor of literature at Boston University, USA.

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The Jew of Malta 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That sounds like a good idea too. What if each res or handful of results was a different time period?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ww2 based
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay. So where should we base it? Or should it be all countries that the rpers characters are from?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago