The Jew of Malta

by: Christopher Marlowe

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

FERNEZE So march away, and let due praise be given Neither to fate nor fortune, but to heaven. (V.v.123–124)

The play's last two lines hint at the nature of the conflict the actors have just dramatized. The Jew of Malta toys with the idea that God has less influence on the affairs of man than other men do. Strange things happen within the play that do not accord with a hierarchical, Christian understanding of the world: the clergy are corrupt, Muslims invade a Christian stronghold, and a Jew becomes governor. We are left wondering just who is responsible for the way things have turned out—has Divine Providence ruled that events should pan out as they do, or is Ferneze suggesting that the characters' Machiavellian scheming was simply a tool for God's will? In these two lines the governor distances himself from his past acts and lauds God as being the driving force behind human affairs. Ironically, the rest of the play seems to suggest that God has less influence on earthly events than men do—particularly if men scheme and wile to achieve their own ends.