Christopher Marlowe: The Jew of Malta (1580 words)

Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University)
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Context

The Jew of Malta shares with the better-known Doctor Faustus clear uneasiness about conventional forms of religion and sharp-eyed observation of the hypocrisies which can be committed in its name. On the small Mediterranean island of Malta, the Turks attack the Catholic Knights of St John, and Jews suffer and are demonised as a result. The events are based partly on the historical siege of the island in 1565, but Marlowe has departed from fact in a number of instances, most notably in allowing the Turks, however temporarily, to triumph, and in giving a central role to the Jew Barabas, a character whom Marlowe has invented (though the name is obviously derived from the thief whose life the Jews asked …

Citation: Hopkins, Lisa. "The Jew of Malta". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001; last revised 01 March 2021. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=474, accessed 18 September 2021.]

474 The Jew of Malta 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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