From the Prologue to The Jew of Malta "There is no sin but ignorance."

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Although we find allusions to the faking of Marlowe's death sprinkled throughout the works of "Shakespeare", Calvin Hoffman, David Rhys Williams, and many other Marlovians think that the Prologue to The Jew of Malta contains Marlowe's boldest statement concerning his self-imposed exile. The play wasn't published until 1633, long after all those who would have been involved in saving Marlowe from the Star Chamber Court were dead. It is of note that Marlowe was referred to as "machevill" by his friends.

In her essay "Jews, Moors, and Infidels", Isabel Gortazar says, "In The Jew of Malta, we find a Prologue spoken by somebody calling himself Machevill. The mention of De Guise’s death precludes the possibility that Marlowe may be putting these words in the mouth of the historical Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), a Florentine, well known for his treatises on Power Politics. The Catholic French Duke De Guise was the arch-villain in Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris, a disgraceful event that occurred on 23rd August 1572. De Guise was murdered in 1588, so sixty-one years after Machiavelli’s death."

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Prologue to The Jew of Malta

 


Enter Machevill.

MACHEVILL. Albeit the world think Machiavel is dead,
Yet was his soul but flown beyond the Alps;
And, now the Guise is dead, is come from France,
To view this land, and frolic with his friends.
It is thought Marlowe returned to England circa 1598
To some perhaps my name is odious;
But such as love me guard me from their tongues,

And let them know that I am Machiavel,
And weigh not men, and therefore not mens words.
Admired I am of those that hate me most.
Though some speak openly against my books,
Yet will they read me and thereby attain
To Peter's chair; and when they cast me off,
Are poisoned by my climbing followers.
I count religion but a childish toy
And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
These two lines reveal the correct way to interpret Marlowe's plays.
Birds of the air will tell of murders past? Marlowe's own murder at Deptford. Here is the bold statement.
I am ashamed to hear such fooleries.

Many will talk of title to a crown.
What right had Caesar to the empire?
Might first made kings, and laws were then most sure
When, like the Draco's, they were writ in blood.
Hence comes it that a strong built citadel
Commands much more than letters can import:
Which maxim had but Phalaris observed,
He'd never bellowed in a brazen bull,
Of great ones envy: o'the poor petty wights
Let me be envied and not pitied!
But whither am I bound? I come not, I,
To read a lecture here in Britanie,
Marlowe's informant said he'd given an atheist lecture to Raleigh and others.
But to present the tragedy of a Jew
Who smiles to see how full his bags are crammed,
Which money was not got without my means.
I crave but this. Grace him as he deserves,
And let him not be entertained the worse
Because he favours me.

 

 

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