Freedom of Desire in "The Jew of Malta"

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  • Title: Freedom of Desire in "The Jew of Malta"
  • Author(s): Shu-hua Chung
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Literary Humanities
  • Keywords: Freedom, The Self, The Other, Conflict, Struggle
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-7912 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8676 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v17i02/35-49
  • Citation: Chung, Shu-hua . 2019. "Freedom of Desire in "The Jew of Malta"." The International Journal of Literary Humanities 17 (2): 35-49. doi:10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v17i02/35-49.
  • Extent: 15 pages

Abstract

Christopher Marlowe (1564–93) in “The Jew of Malta” (1589–90) originally creates the Jew Barabas who uses cunning and cruel means to pursue freedom of desire. He achieves his goal when he gains power by virtue in a series of murders. In Malta, Spanish Christians, Turks, and Jews live and struggle, and Barabas is regarded as the Other due to racial and religious differences; paradoxically, in the light of traps, he craftily benefits from their conflict. Their struggle is similar to that of the Self and the Other. Applying the theory of the Other by Emmanuel Levinas (1905–96) to “The Jew of Malta,” this research will examine the conflict between the Jews and the Turks alongside the struggle between Spain and the Ottoman Empire. Also, this research will attempt to probe into the relationship between the Self and the Other, and between the master and the slave. Through this discussion, this research would like to argue that it is impossible to terminate the rival relationship between the Self and the Other unless the Self who regard themselves as center and their superiority over the Other can absolutely eliminate their prejudice against and abandon their persecution to the Other.