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 October 10, 2023
October 3, 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 email@example.com. 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
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Gold symbolizes power and success as well as wealth. Barabas is ecstatic when he recovers his hidden gold in Act II, scene i. As the Turkish bashaw states to Ferneze, the Turkish army are driven by "[t]he wind that bloweth all the world besides, / Desire of gold." In sixteenth century Malta, as in our modern era, money makes the world go round. Gold symbolizes faith in the terrestrial world—its schemes, profits and rewards—as opposed to the spiritual realm's less immediate rewards.
Most of the comments about Barabas's nose are made by Ithamore, who makes puns on the idea of smelling and having a nose for things. For example, he says, "Oh brave, master, I worship your nose for this." The slave expresses his admiration for this feature along with Barabas's qualities of character, stating, "I have the bravest, gravest, secret, subtle, bottle-nosed knave to my master, that ever gentleman had." And yet, Ithamore's gentle jibing is not always comic—it can turn nasty. In Act IV he mutters as an aside, "God-a-mercy nose," in response to Barabas's comment that he smelt the priests "ere they came." Marlowe is undoubtedly playing on Jewish stereotypes with this unconventional symbol.
The fact that Ithamore focuses on Barabas' nose symbolizes his need to define the Jew as different, through selecting this feature as a mark of distinction. By saying that Barabas has a nose for crime, Ithamore is somehow connecting what he perceives to be a Jewish identity with a criminal identity. It is unlikely that Marlowe agrees with Ithamore. The slave's comments are so ridiculous—as is Barabas's comment that he could smell the priests before they appeared—that we cannot ignore their sharply ironic tone. While the character of Ithamore might be saying these things in all seriousness, the playwright uses them to deepen the play's darkly comic flavor. Barabas's nose is a symbol of the satire that permeates The Jew of Malta. Just as tragic events in the play are undercut by humor, so its jokes have serious implications about the state of human relationships.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Jew of Malta!