Item #186720 The Jew of Malta (New Mermaids). James R. Siemon Christopher Marlowe.

The Jew of Malta (New Mermaids)

Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, May 2009. Trade Paperback. Used - Very Good. Item #186720
ISBN: 071367766X

'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.


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Price: $7.00

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