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The Jew of Malta

Unabridged Audio Book

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Various Readers

2 Hours 22 Minutes


January 2011


Audio Book Summary

Christopher “Kit” Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564 – 30 May 1593) was an English dramatist, poet, and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian before William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own untimely death.

The Jew of Malta (1589) is an original story of religious conflict, intrigue, and revenge, set against a backdrop of the struggle for supremacy between Spain and the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean. The Jew of Malta is considered to have been a major influence on William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

The play contains a prologue in which the character Machiavel, a Senecan ghost based on Niccolò Machiavelli, introduces “the tragedy of a Jew.” (summary by Wikipedia)

Thomas Heywood: The well-known dramatist of the time has included Prologues and Epilogues both for the court and the Cock-Pit theatre “…making choice of you unto whom to devote it;” . (summary by David Lawrence)

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  • Tony H

    Save the Bard, there’s not that much Elizabethan drama on CD. Pity, as it is quite a remarkable period. I have not tried other drama on audio books, but this showed the limitations of reading a play: I didn’t think the genius of Marlowe showed thru. Still, something’s better than nothing and I don’t regret listening to it on my daily walks.

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  • Ian M

    The main character is an entertaining personality with all his schemes and machinations. It's one of those cases where the villain is more fun than the hero. The story is certainly eventful and full of twists and turns. Historically, it is interesting as a story written by a Christian about Christians, Jews, and Muslims interacting on the small island of Malta, ruled by an embattled Christian military order, with a significant Jewish population, and dealing with a militarily superior Muslim force. No group is portrayed as all good or all bad, but I assume that each is written according to what were perceived at the time as the stereotypical merits and flaws of each group. As a LibriVox play some of the readers are better than others. At least the main character is played well and with fervor, if a little 2 dimensional. Though, playing the character a little Vaudevillian might be just how the character was intended. It's up to you to judge.

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