chapter  2
26 Pages

Reduced to a Map: Tamburlaine the Great, Parts One and Two

In approaching The Jew of Malta's treatment of unity and the relationship between the individual and the multitude,. This chapter focuses on some issues which have attracted considerable critical attention. The Jew of Malta prompts its audience to consider the relationship between the individual and the multitude, and more particularly the value of unity. When he first appears on stage, Barabas, surrounded by his mountains of gold, laments the necessity of 'Wearying his fingers' ends' counting the coins with which his 'steel-barred coffers are crammed full'. The play's individualistic, multicultural and competitive environment flies directly in the face of the idealized concept of a unified multitude. Indeed, it is closer to the world described by Niccolò Machiavelli, in which it is safest to assume that every individual is preoccupied with personal gain, and will willingly perform any kind of betrayal in order to remove obstacles to achieving it.