Synopses & Reviews
So popular in its time that impresario Philip Henslowe staged it during
the plague years of 1592 and '93, this 'tragical farce', as it is best
described, is hard for modern audiences to swallow. The rich Jew
Barabas fulfils all of the anti-semitic prejudices that had been
current in Christian Europe for centuries, but the Christians are
equally viciously exposed as vicious despots and hypocrites. This
edition sets the play in the cultural, religious and political context
of Elizabethan London to show that what Marlowe presented to his
audience was a shrewd, perhaps cynical, analysis of aggression and
xenophobia; it collapses ideological structures of all kinds.
About the Author
The editor, James R Siemon is Professor of English Literature at Boston University.