The Jew of Malta

literary work

The Jew of Malta is a play by Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe's source is unknown. It is possibly a forgotten story, or he may have studied Jewish life first-hand in London. The exact date the play was written is uncertain. It is certain though that it was written no earlier than December 1588. It was first printed in 1633.[1]

The Jew of Malta
Title page, 1633 first edition
Written byChristopher Marlowe
Original languageEnglish

The play is unbalanced; the first two acts show a masterful hand while the last three do not. The character of Barabas, the Jew, is a portrait of depth in the first two acts, but he descends to nothing more than a typical stage villain in the last three. One critic believes the play was ordered on short notice by the players, and Marlowe had only enough time to sketch the character of Barrabas.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Marlowe, Christopher (Richard H. Horne (ed.). 1885. The works of Christopher Marlowe, Volume 1. pp. xxxix-xliii.