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378 WordsOct 16, 20082 Pages
Shane St. Pierre 10/3/08 Paper #2 Topic 1 Professor Jenkins Christopher Marlowe would view Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as a diluted version of his own brilliant work, The Jew of Malta. Marlow would both emphasize with many of Shakespeare’s own adaptations to his own work and berate him for polluting his finely tuned stereotypical characters. Since there are virtual endless parades between the two works, Marlow would no doubt appreciate some of Shakespeare’s altercations to what would have originally been his ideas, while at the same time resenting the fact that Shakespeare eloquently transformed his raw material into something seemingly far greater. The most striking similarity seems to be between the characters of Barabbas and Shylock. The character of Barabbas in Marlowe’s the Jew of Malta seemed to be the perfect embodiment of every harsh stereotype of not only the Jewish people but all of mankind. The opening scene of the The Jew of Malta revolves around Barabbas counting his vast quantity of wealth, and greedily insulting the people from which each type of wealth came from. “As for those Samites and the men if Uz / That bought my Spanish oils and wines of Greece / Here I have pursed their paltry silverlings. / Fie, what a trouble ‘tis to count this trash!” (1.1.4-7) The fact that Barabbas dismisses the piles of silver coins as ‘paltry’ portrays his enormous greed. Barabbas’s whole philosophy on life centers on wealth and greed: The needy groom that never fingered a groat Would make a miracle of thus much coin; But he whose steel-barred coffers are crammed full, And all his lifetime hath tired, Wearying his fingers’ ends with telling it, Would in his age be loath to labour so, And for a pound to sweat himself to death. (1.1.12-18) Here Barabbas comments that although he knows a person of a lower social class would view this

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