The Jew of Malta Topics for Further Study
by Christopher Marlowe

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Topics for Further Study

(Drama for Students)

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Try to imagine that the Nazis had staged The Jew of Malta during World War II. Discuss some of the reasons why they might have done so, and consider how the performance might have been staged.

Compare Marlowe's play with Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. In what ways are Shylock and Barabas similar? How are they different?

Consider the historical events in England in the last half of the sixteenth-century. In what ways do these events influence Marlowe's play, especially the violence of the action?

Marlowe's primary theme is that of the corruption of man, especially with regard to religion. Discuss the negative depictions of religion in The Jew of Malta.

Marlowe sets up two distinct groupings of people in The Jew of Malta. One group consists of the innocent younger generation: Abigail, Mathias, and Lodowick. On the other side, the older and more corrupt generation plots against one another. Ultimately, the innocents are destroyed. Many modern psychologists argue that the younger generation is constantly motivated to eliminate the older group. But Marlowe's play works in exactly the opposite manner. Discuss these two groupings and what an understanding of the inter-generational conflict can reveal about the late sixteenth-century.