The Jew of Malta
by Christopher Marlowe
Analysis: Plot Analysis
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.
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 Turkish army doesn't slaughter them. Everything is on an even keel, so naturally we know thatit's all about to go terribly wrong.
Mo' Money Mo' Problems
The Turks demand their tribute, but Malta can't pay. Ferneze confiscates all of Barabas's wealth to pay them off, which sets off a series of events ending with Barabas having achieved the deaths of Lodowick, Mathias, Abigail, Bernadine, Jacomo and an entire nunnery.
Quentin Tarentino would be proud.
The Turks arrive to besiege Malta and Barabas's crimes are discovered, although not before he manages to poison Ithamore, Pilia-Borza and Bellamira. We've totally lost track of the body count.And… Barabas is left for dead outside the city walls. Everything is in shambles; seems like a climax to us.
Fire Up the Cauldrons
Surprise! Barabas is not dead. He helps the Turks get into Malta, which they then overrun and occupy. However, Barabas is caught in his own trap to kill Calymath when Ferneze betrays him. At this point, the story is almost over. Wait for it….
Ferneze is Once Again The Boss
With Barabas dead, Ferneze assumes control of Malta. He takes Calymath captive and demands that the Emperor of Turkey pay for Malta's restoration. Hooray! (We guess.)