The Jew of Malta

by: Christopher Marlowe

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

ABIGAIL Then were my thoughts so frail and unconfirmed, And I was chained to follies of the world: But now experience, purchasèd with grief, Has made me see the difference of things. My sinful soul, alas, hath paced too long The fatal labyrinth of misbelief, Far from the Son that gives eternal life. (III.iii.61–67)

This quote is filled with Christian terminology that supports Abigail's sincere desire to convert. A sense of Christian humility and self-humiliation is conveyed in phrases such as, "I was chained to follies of the world," and "My sinful soul," making Abigail's speech sound overblown and stagy. We wonder if she is converting because she really believes, or if she feels alienated from her Jewish heritage because of Barabas's acts. In particular, Abigail's comment about seeing the "difference of things" reinforces the pathos of her conversion. This line is a sickening euphemism for becoming prejudiced. It is tragic that Abigail, who seemed the only unbigoted character within the text, has become narrow-minded and discriminatory because of her disgust toward Barabas.