The Jew of Malta
by Christopher Marlowe
The Jew of Malta Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
BARABAS:...And therefore ne'er distinguish of the wrong.
FERNEZE: Content thee, Barabas, thou hast nought but right
BARABAS: Your extreme right does me exceeding wrong. (1.2.150-52)
While Ferneze insists that he's doing justice—both in a religious and political sense—when he confiscates the Jews' property, Barabas isn't buying it. He points out that justice isn't an absolute value, and that what's "right" relative to Ferneze's beliefs and values is "wrong" relative to Barabas's.
BARABAS: For what? You men of Malta, hear me speak.
She is a courtesan, and he a thief,
And he my bondman. Let me have law,
For none of this can prejudice my life.
FERNEZE: Once more, away with him.You shall have law. (5.1.36-40)
How the tables have turned. Now that he finds himself in a tight spot, Barabas is suddenly all about following the law. At the moment, it's the only thing standing between him and Ferneze's wrath over the murder of his son Lodowick.
JACOMO: Good Barabas, let me go
BARABAS: No, pardon me, the law must have his course. (4.1.179-80)
Marlowe's really laying on the irony here—Barabas, who's been on the wrong side of the law for basically the whole play, joys in the moment where he gets to use the law to crush his enemy Jacomo. Jacomo is in fact innocent of murdering Bernadine, but is executed anyway. So much for the course of law, huh?