Christopher Marlowe was one of the most famous playwrights in all of literature. Marlowe's tragic plays, noted for their blank verse and unique protagonists, were a great influence on the legendary William Shakespeare. Some of Marlowe's classics include Doctor Faustus, Edward II, and Tamburlaine the Great. The Jew of Malta is a classic play with themes such as religious conflict and revenge. This play is believed to have been a major influence on Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
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First performed by Shakespeare’s rivals in the 1590s, Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta was a trend-setting, innovative play whose black comedy and final tragic irony illuminate the darker regions of the Elizabethan cultural imagination. Although Jews were banished from England in 1291, the Jew in the form of Barabas, the play’s protagonist, returns on the stage to embody and to challenge the dramatic and cultural anti-Semitic stereotypes out of which he is constructed. The result is a theatrically sophisticated but deeply unsettling play whose rich cultural significance extends beyond the early modern period to the present day.
The introduction and historical documents in this edition provide a rich context for the world of the play’s composition and production, including materials on Jewishness and anti-Semitism, the political struggles over Malta, and Christopher Marlowe’s personal and political reputation.About the Author:
Mathew R. Martin is Full Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University.
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