The Jew of Malta

So popular in its time that impresario Philip Henslowe staged it duringthe plague years of 1592 and '93, this 'tragical farce', as it is bestdescribed, is hard for modern audiences to swallow. The rich JewBarabas fulfils all of the anti-semitic prejudices that had beencurrent in Christian Europe for centuries, but the Christians areequally viciously exposed as vicious despots and hypocrites. Thisedition sets the play in the cultural, religious and political contextof Elizabethan London to show that what Marlowe presented to hisaudience was a shrewd, perhaps cynical, analysis of aggression andxenophobia; it collapses ideological structures of all kinds.

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