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The Jew of Malta | Study Guide

Christopher Marlowe

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The Jew of Malta | Scene Summaries

See Scene Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Around 1590

    Barabas glories in his wealth. He hears of a fleet of galleys arrived in Malta from Turkey.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Later that day

    Ferneze rules that the island's Jews must bear the brunt of paying the tribute to the Turks.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • That night

    Abigail pretends conversion to Christianity and then rescues Barabas's fortune.

    Act 2, Scene 1
  • The next day

    The Spanish vice admiral del Bosco persuades Ferneze to resist the Turks.

    Act 2, Scene 2
  • The same day

    Barabas buys the Turkish slave Ithamore and begins to manipulate Lodowick and Mathias.

    Act 2, Scene 3
  • The same day

    Lodowick and Mathias fight a mutually fatal duel.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • Immediately after

    Informed of Mathias's death, the grieving Abigail converts to Christianity and joins the nunnery.

    Act 3, Scene 3
  • That night

    Barabas poisons all the nuns, including Abigail.

    Act 3, Scene 4
  • Sometime later

    Barabas and Ithamore murder Friar Barnardine and then frame Friar Jacomo for the crime.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Sometime later

    Bellamira, Pilia-Borza, and Ithamore blackmail Barabas.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • Sometime later

    Barabas and Ferneze conspire against the Turks.

    Act 5, Scene 2
  • Sometime later

    Ferneze betrays Barabas and sends him to a gruesome death.

    Act 5, Scene 5

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Prologue The prologue to the play consists of a speech by a ghost based on the Italian political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli (14... Read More
Act 1, Scene 1 The scene opens with Barabas alone on stage. He is seated in his counting house, with "heaps of gold before him." The ta... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 The scene shifts to the senate-house of Malta, where an official meeting is presided over by the island's governor, a hi... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 This scene opens at night, outside the house of Barabas. The Jew enters with a light, praying that God will guide Abigai... Read More
Act 2, Scene 2 This brief scene reverts to politics. The high-ranking Spanish naval officer Martin del Bosco has just arrived in Malta.... Read More
Act 2, Scene 3 This scene further develops various plot strands that have been introduced earlier in Act 2. The action takes place in t... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 The opening scene of this act introduces two new characters: Bellamira and Pilia-Borza. The former, a courtesan, complai... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 With remarkable rapidity, Barabas settles his score with Lodowick and Mathias. The two young men, goaded into a duel by ... Read More
Act 3, Scene 3 Ithamore's glee at the destruction of Mathias and Lodowick has no bounds, as he acclaims his new employer's mastery of "... Read More
Act 3, Scene 4 Barabas enters, reading a letter from Abigail in which she informs him of her conversion to Christianity and her readmis... Read More
Act 3, Scene 5 In this brief scene, Ferneze confronts the Turkish emissary Callapine and refuses to render the tribute imposed by the T... Read More
Act 3, Scene 6 In a panic, Friar Jacomo and Friar Barnardine deplore the grave illness of the nuns, who are on the point of death. Abig... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 This scene opens with master and slave rejoicing at their success in annihilating the nuns. Perhaps most shocking, Barab... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 Pilia-Borza tells Bellamira that he has delivered the courtesan's letter to Ithamore. The Turkish slave enters, uttering... Read More
Act 4, Scene 3 Barabas enters, reading Ithamore's first blackmail letter and delivering a scurrilous rant on Pilia-Borza's physical app... Read More
Act 4, Scene 4 Ithamore, Bellamira, and Pilia-Borza plunge into revelry, toasting repeatedly with cups of wine. Ithamore boasts of the ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 Ferneze, governor of Malta, enters, attended by his knights and officers and by the Spanish vice admiral Martin del Bosc... Read More
Act 5, Scene 2 Calymath boasts of his victory over the Maltese, taunting Ferneze, who has capitulated. He proclaims Barabas the new gov... Read More
Act 5, Scene 3 Having toured the city and repaired the damage caused by the siege, Calymath expresses admiration for Malta's strategic ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 4 Ferneze addresses his knights, admonishing them not to sally forth until they hear a cannon shot. This will be the signa... Read More
Act 5, Scene 5 Barabas busies himself putting the finishing touches on a "contraption" that will ensure the ruin of the Turkish troop... Read More
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