The Jew of Malta

The Connection Between Religion and Corruption in Marlowe's The Jew of Malta and Doctor Faustus

"Religion hides many mischiefs from suspicion" (I, ii, 279-280)

Religion, as Barabas describes in this quotation from The Jew of Malta, acts as a measure in defending one's actions as moral or just. Christopher Marlowe presents this use of religion in Doctor Faustus and The Jew of Malta. The protagonists in both plays believe in an idea about the nature of religion similar to Marlowe's own uncertainty. Marlowe's study of divinity contradicts with his encouragement of atheism in his life and his double life as a spy. This struggle for religions' role in society and politics appears in the characters of Dr. Faustus and Barabas. In Doctor Faustus and The Jew of Malta, the protagonists justify their corruption and actions against societal laws through religion.

The character of Dr. Faustus exhibits a knowledge Francis Bacon describes as "proud knowledge of good and evil, with an intent in man to give law unto himself and to depend no more upon God's commandments which was the form of temptation" (Bacon 7). Bacon believes that it is not the quantity of knowledge that destroys humans, but the unhealthy aim of challenging God. Faustus encounters Bacon's destructive aim with his divine...

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