The Jew of Malta

- By Christopher Marlowe
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Christopher Marlowe, also known as Kit Marlowe (/ˈmɑːrloʊ/; baptised 26 February 1564 – 30 May 1593), was an English playwright, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era.[nb 1] Marlowe is among the most famous of the Elizabethan playwrights. Based upon the "many imitations" of his play Tamburlaine, modern scholars consider him to have been the foremost dramatist in London in the years just before his mysterious early death.[nb 2] Some scholars also believe that he greatly influenced William Shakespeare, who was baptised in the same year as Marlowe and later succeeded him as the pre-eminent Elizabethan playwright.[nb 3] Marlowe was the first to achieve critical reputation for his use of blank verse, which became the standard for the era. His plays are distinguished by their overreaching protagonists. Themes found within Marlowe's literary works have been noted as humanistic with realistic emotions, which some scholars find difficult to reconcile with Marlowe's "anti-intellectualism" and his catering to the prurient tastes of his Elizabethan audiences for generous displays of extreme physical violence, cruelty, and bloodshed.[4] Events in Marlowe's life were sometimes as extreme as those found in his plays.[nb 4] Reports of Marlowe's death in 1593 were particularly infamous in his day and are contested by scholars today due to a lack of good documentation. Traditionally, the playwright's death has been blamed on a long list of conjectures, including a vicious bar-room fight, blasphemous libel against the church, homosexual intrigue, betrayal by another playwright, and espionage from the highest level: the Privy Council of Elizabeth I. An official coroner's account of Marlowe's death was only revealed in 1925,[6] but it did little to persuade all scholars that it told the whole story, nor did it eliminate the uncertainties present in his biography.[7]
THE PROLOGUE SPOKEN AT COURT. Gracious and great, that we so boldly dare ('Mongst other plays that now in fashion are) To present this, writ many years agone, And in that age thought second unto none, We humbly crave your pardon. We pursue The story of a rich and famous Jew Who liv'd in Malta: you shall find him still, In all his projects, a sound Machiavill; And that's his character. He that hath past So many censures 3 is now come at last To have your princely ears: grace you him; then You crown the action, and renown the pen. EPILOGUE SPOKEN AT COURT. It is our fear, dread sovereign, we have bin 4 Too tedious; neither can't be less than sin To wrong your princely patience: if we have, Thus low dejected, we your pardon crave; And, if aught here offend your ear or sight, We only act and speak what others write. THE PROLOGUE TO THE STAGE, AT THE COCK-PIT. We know not how our play may pass this stage, But by the best of poets 5 in that age THE MALTA-JEW had being and was made; And he then by the best of actors 6 play'd: In HERO AND LEANDER 7 one did gain A lasting memory; in Tamburlaine, This Jew, with others many, th' other wan The attribute of peerless, being a man Whom we may rank with (doing no one wrong) Proteus for shapes, and Roscius for a tongue,- So could he speak, so vary; nor is't hate To merit in him 8 who doth personate Our Jew this day; nor is it his ambition To exceed or equal, being of condition More modest: this is all that he intends, (And that too at the urgence of some friends,) To prove his best, and, if none here gainsay it, The part he hath studied, and intends to play it. EPILOGUE TO THE STAGE, AT THE COCK-PIT. In graving with Pygmalion to contend, Or painting with Apelles, doubtless the end Must be disgrace: our actor did not so,- He only aim'd to go, but not out-go. Nor think that this day any prize was play'd; 9 Here were no bets at all, no wagers laid: 10 All the ambition that his mind doth swell, Is but to hear from you (by me) 'twas well. DRAMATIS PERSONAE. FERNEZE, governor of Malta. LODOWICK, his son. SELIM CALYMATH, son to the Grand Seignior. MARTIN DEL BOSCO, vice-admiral of Spain. MATHIAS, a gentleman. JACOMO, | BARNARDINE, | friars. BARABAS, a wealthy Jew. ITHAMORE, a slave. PILIA-BORZA, a bully, attendant to BELLAMIRA. Two Merchants. Three Jews. Knights, Bassoes, Officers, Guard, Slaves, Messenger, and Carpenters KATHARINE, mother to MATHIAS. ABIGAIL, daughter to BARABAS. BELLAMIRA, a courtezan. Abbess. Nun. MACHIAVEL as Prologue speaker. Scene, Malta.

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Word Lists:

Epilogue : a section or speech at the end of a book or play that serves as a comment on or a conclusion to what has happened

Gainsay : deny or contradict (a fact or statement)

Peerless : unequaled; unrivaled

Abbess : a woman who is the head of an abbey of nuns.

Dejected : sad and depressed; dispirited

Crave : feel a powerful desire for (something)

Wan : (of a person's complexion or appearance) pale and giving the impression of illness or exhaustion

Wager : risk (a sum of money or valued item) against someone else's on the basis of the outcome of an unpredictable event; bet

Renown : the condition of being known or talked about by many people; fame

Writ : a form of written command in the name of a court or other legal authority to act, or abstain from acting, in some way.


Additional Information:

Rating: A

Words: 461

Unique Words : 251

Sentences : 32

Reading Time : 2:02

Noun : 171

Conjunction : 50

Adverb : 19

Interjection : 0

Adjective : 25

Pronoun : 47

Verb : 54

Preposition : 51

Letter Count : 1,926

Sentiment : Positive

Tone : Neutral

Difficult Words : 139

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