The Jew of Malta
by Christopher Marlowe
The Jew of Malta Politics Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
What right had Caesar to the Empire?
Might first made kings, and laws were then most sure
When like the Draco's they were writ in blood. (Prologue 19-21)
Calling Draco Malfoy. No, but really: Machiavel is pointing out, accurately, that Caesar had no legal or moral right to rule Rome—he did it by force. Force and terror. And laws and order in general are "most sure" not necessarily when they're the most just, but when their correlating punishments are as harsh as Draco's. (The ruthless Athenian law-giver, not the Harry Potter guy.)
I must confess we come not to be kings.
That's not our fault: alas, our number's few,
And crowns come either by succession
Or urged by force; and nothing violent,
Oft have I heard tell, can be permanent.
Give us a peaceful rule, make Christians kings,
That thirst so much for principality. (1.1.126-32)
Jews may not get the big political titles, Barabas says, but who cares? The Christians can be kings all they want. It's better to just lie low, do your thing, make a good living, and let the Christians war amongst themselves for kingship.
And 'tis more kingly to obtain by peace
Than to enforce conditions by constraint (1.2.25-6)
Here, Calymath telling himself why he should give Ferneze an extra month to come up with the money for the tribute. When Calymath says that it's more "kingly" to show leniency, what do you think he means? Do you think he's proven right?