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Shakepeare and Marlowe: Liberty in Four Plays

This is a Reading List based upon a Liberty Fund Conference on “Liberty in Four Plays by Shakespeare and Marlowe.”

Liberty in Four Plays by Shakespeare and Marlowe

Topic

These four plays examine themes of individual liberty and personal responsibility: William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and The Merchant of Venice, and Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and The Jew of Malta. This pairing of Elizabethan contemporaries is especially appropriate, because questions of liberty and responsibility lie at the centers of their imaginative universes, yet the two dramatists approach the topic from vastly different perspectives. There is the contrast between Shakespeare’s Prospero (the seeker of wisdom who neglects his leadership responsibilities) and Shylock (the religious outsider demanding justice) with Marlowe’s Faustus (the seeker of knowledge who neglects his social responsibilities) and Barabas (the religious outsider recoiling against the state).

Guide to the Readings

Editions used:

See also in the Online Library of Liberty:

For additional reading see:

Session I: Dr. Faustus

The Works of Christopher Marlowe

Session II: The Tempest

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare)

Session III: Dr. Faustus and The Tempest

See readings above.

Session IV: The Jew of Malta

The Works of Christopher Marlowe

Session V: The Merchant of Venice

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare)

Session VI: The Jew of Malta and The Merchant of Venice

See readings above.

Last modified April 13, 2016