Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 11, 2023
December 4, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
The Jew of Malta or The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta (1633 quarto)
Author Christopher Marlowe
Type of Work Play
Genre Tragicomedy; satire of religious hypocrisy and Machiavellian scheming
Language English (Early modern English; Shakespearean prose)
Time and place written between 1589–1591, London
Date of First Publication Earliest edition is a quarto dating from 1633, probably based on a copy by Marlowe
Publisher Nicholas Vavafour, London
Narrator "Machevill," a caricature of Machiavelli, the famous sixteenth-century author on statecraft
Setting (time) During the 1565 Turkish siege of Malta, an island in the Mediterranean
Setting (place) Malta's fortified town
Point of View Marlowe's; the playwright's ambiguous style seems to condemn all of his characters as immoral
Climax Abigail's conversion to Christianity may be understood as the play's heavily ironic moral climax. However, the dramatic climax occurs in the final scene, where Barabas's plot to kill Calymath backfires, and Barabas dies in a cauldron.
Falling Action Barabas schemes to free Malta from Turkish rule but his plans founder when Ferneze saves Calymath's life. The protagonist dies, and the governor explains to the Turk that he will be Malta's prisoner until the island is freed.
Tone Deeply ironic; Marlowe plays with stereotypes and complicates our reactions to his characters. Barabas is simultaneously sympathetic and detestable. Many characters that are ostensibly "good" Christians, such as Ferneze, appear hypocritical and moralistic.
Themes Religion and religious hypocrisy; vengeance and retribution; Machiavellian strategy
Motifs Deception and dissimulation; proverbs and biblical allusions
Symbols Gold; Barabas' nose
Foreshadowing There is little foreshadowing in The Jew of Malta, although Abigail's first (false) conversion to Christianity may foreshadow her later one. The play relies more on parallels between the characters: Barabas's immoral actions are frequently compared to those of the Catholic clergy, Ithamore, Calymath and Ferneze.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Jew of Malta!