Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Jew of Malta

Last night, while doing some reading, I was reminded of the class I took in college on Renaissance drama, ie, the non-Shakespeare class. We read a combination of Chrisopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson plays and after thumbing through my books, I noticed that I'd heavily highlighted and asterisked several sections from Marlowe's
"The Jew of Malta"

Notably, at the beginning is the telling phrase "there is no sin but ignorance" with which Machiavel introduces the play's leading man, Barabus.

I guess this was the 16th century Marlowe-esque prequel to today's "ignorance is bliss"

I'm not sure why this is sticking with me but it is. Does this mean it is sinful to be happy? No, that can't be. I think if you combined these two ideas you could say that it is sinful or dangerous to be blindly happy to the exclusion of reality. Now what one's reality is? That's a different post altogether and I'm afraid Mr. Marlowe can't help with that.

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