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The Jew of Malta

The Jew of Malta

by Christopher Marlowe

The Jew of Malta Analysis

Literary Devices in The Jew of Malta

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Welcome to Malta, a wee bitty island in the Mediterranean, right around 1565.Don't worry if you don't remember anyone mentioning what year it is when reading the play, because they don't.We know th...

Genre

Ah, the tortured question of genre and The Jew of Malta—hold onto your hats, Shmoopers, this one's a doozy.Okay, so, the short story is that people have been struggling with the nature of this pl...

Tone

Sure, The Jew of Malta is cynical and depressing. But, come on, it's also hilarious. Barabas is going around killing people, but he does it with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. He gets...

Writing Style

Blank VerseMost of this play is written in blank verse, which is just a friendly way of saying unrhymed iambic pentameter.Okay, let's break that down for you:Iambic pentameter means you have five f...

What's Up With the Title?

The Jew of Malta. Pretty straightforward: Barabas is a Jew who lives in Malta. But you know what? We're pretty interested in that little "of Malta," there. In Barabas's Character Analysis, we talk...

What's Up With the Ending?

After an impressive run (and by run we mean "massive killing spree"), Barabas finally dies, and we're left with Ferneze planning to ransom Calymath for the restitution of Malta and its citizens. Th...

Tough-o-Meter

As Renaissance plays go, this one is actually pretty straightforward. (Really.) But there are a lot of Biblical references and sixteenth-century slang, so make sure you're reading an edition that h...

Plot Analysis

Life is Good Barabas lives with his daughter Abigail and conducts business peacefully and profitably on Malta. Meanwhile, Malta pays a yearly tribute (of money) to the Turks and, in exchange, the T...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

We know, we know—Jew of Malta, a Comedy?The honest truth is that Jew of Malta is tricky to define with regards to plot type and genre. That said, the essential element of a comedy plot is that yo...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Barabas, formerly Head Merchant in Control of Malta, is stripped of all of his wealth and property by Ferneze to pay off the threatening Turkish Empire. Barabas, totally ticked off, starts planning...

Trivia

Marlowe. Christopher Marlowe. Okay, that might not have a very good ring to it, but nevertheless, many people believe that Christopher Marlowe was a government spy, recruited while he was a student...

Steaminess Rating

You'd think there'd be more sex in this play—everything's there. Prostitutes! Unscrupulous friars! Enough dirty nun jokes to make a hardened Renaissance scholar blush! And yet. About the sexiest...

Allusions

Barabas is a clear allusion to the Biblical BarrabasThe Jews' part in the crucifixion of Christ is referenced throughoutAbraham (1.1.102) (2.1.14)Job (1.2.179)Genesis 17:11 (2.3.8)Matthew 10:16 (2....

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