The Jew of Malta

by: Christopher Marlowe

Important Quotations Explained

BARABAS Bring you scripture to confirm your wrongs? Preach me not out of my possessions. Some Jews are wicked, as all Christians are: But say the tribe that I descended of Were all in general cast away for sin, Shall I be tried by their transgression? The man that dealeth righteously shall live: And which of you can charge me otherwise? (I.ii.111–118)

This passage comes from the scene in which Ferneze has cheated Barabas out of his estate. Barabas makes barbed comments about Christian hypocrisy and suggests that Ferneze is using scripture as false justification for his actions. The protagonist reiterates his identity as an individual as well as a member of a race when he asks if he will be tried by the transgressions of his "tribe." Barabas knows that the Maltese are after his wealth and that Ferneze is only using his Jewish identity as an excuse to steal it. Barabas's prejudice towards his persecutors shows through in the line, "Some Jews are wicked, as all Christians are." The protagonist suggests the importance of judging each man on his own merit when he notes, "The man that dealeth righteously shall live." Concluding his speech with a biblical proverb, Barabas uses the governor's tactics against him through quoting scripture.