ITHAMORE Why, was there ever seen such villainy, So neatly plotted, and so well performed? (III.iii.1–2)
This quote displays the current of irony that runs throughout the play. Ostensibly, Ithamore is referring to the success of Barabas's plot to kill Lodowick and Mathias. However, his comment is also a sly reference to Marlowe's skill at "plotting" the course of his drama, which is now being "performed" in front of an audience. Although there are no explicit references to theater within The Jew of Malta, as there are within other Renaissance plays, Marlowe uses this quote to deepen the self-referential irony of his text.