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The Jew of Malta

The Jew of Malta


by Christopher Marlowe

The Jew of Malta Lies and Deceit Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)

Quote #1

[the Jew] Who smiles to see how full his bags are crammed,
Which money was not got without my means. (Prologue 31-32)

This isn't quite as good as seeing baby pictures, but it does tell us something about what Barabas was like before we meet him. Two things to notice: (1) Machiavel is indicating that Barabas wasn't above deceit beforehand, and (2) it sounds as though his deceit is intrinsically tied up with his love of money. Hey, Marlowe, the 13th century called: it wants its stereotypes back.

Quote #2

Daughter, I have it. Thou perceiv'st the plight
Wherein these Christians have oppressed me.
Be ruled by me, for in extremity
We ought make bar of no policy. (1.2.267-70)

This is right after Ferneze has confiscated Barabas's property, which Barabas has claimed is an act of "policy," or political scheming. He's telling Abigail that, given that they're "in extremity," they have to fight fire with fire, and employ their own "policy," i.e. trickery, to help themselves. And you know what? So far, we're kind of agreeing with him.

Quote #3

We Jews can fawn like spaniels when we please,
And when we grin we bite; yet are our looks
As innocent and harmless as a lamb's. (2.3.20-22)

If you can't beat them, you might as well live up to their expectations. This is one of the many places where Barabas's bad personality seems to be because he's Jewish rather than because he's, you know, a murderous psychopath. And we think he's totally playing it up.

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