The Fear of Conversion to Islam in Daborne’s A Christian Turn’d Turk (1609)

Fahd Mohammed Taleb Al-Olaqi


Robert Daborne’s A Christian Turned Turk (1609/1612) is about the conversion of Captain John Ward (1553-1622) to Islam. The play explores the threats and prizes of religious conversion, the probability of turning away from it, and then returning to Christianity and to England. Daborne depicts how Islam has regularly entered English public discourse and how Englishmen have imbued with Turkish Islamic manners and costume. Daborne emphasizes on conversion in participation of Elizabethan polemic against Islam. The conversion to Islam suggests the possibility of conversion on the basis of physical, bodily changes. The dreaded spread of Islam in England becomes a great threat. Elizabethan writers became gradually anxious with the Turks and Islam. Many Elizabethan dramatists introduced Islam as a spectre and danger to the Christian religion. Because of the fear of conversion, Daborne’s play deflects hostile remarks directed towards Ward as a Muslim outsider and it ends with the triumph of the virtue, that renegade Ward has been punished by his new faith in an indicted murder played by the Jew.



John Ward; Conversion; Islam; Muhammad; Turned Turk; Circumcision; Elizabethan drama

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