In Act V, scene v, Barabas asks his audience, "is not this / A kingly kind of trade to purchase towns / By treachery, and sell 'em by deceit?" In his final scene, Marlowe makes it clear that plotting is simply another type of business transaction for his protagonist. Just as he fears for and rejoices at the safe return of his precious "argosy" in Act I, scene i, so too does Barabas relish the perils and gains that accompany his schemes as a statesman. As the new governor, Barabas is simply a speculator in a political arena. However, Marlowe suggests that his protagonist's motivation has changed since the beginning of the play. Money is no longer Barabas's paramount concern. This is indicated by the fact that he does not touch the gold that Ferneze brings. Instead, Barabas seems wholly preoccupied with the intricacies of his plot. He marvels at his own cunning, and even asks Ferneze "will not this be brave?" We are left to speculate about Barabas's real intention in murdering the Turkish troops. Marlowe suggests the motiveless nature of Barabas's crimes when he asserts, "For so I live, perish may all the world." It is clear that hate is Barabas's chief motivation but hatred towards what or whom is uncertain. It seems that the protagonist's motives are more complicated than they once were; instead of seeking vengeance against one specific individual, Barabas now wants to destroy the entire world. As always, Barabas's final scheme is meticulously prepared, and Act V, scene iii shows that Barabas has anticipated every objection Calymath could raise about the feast, so that the messenger cannot fail but persuade him to attend.

Throughout the play, we see that Barabas's main delight lies in thwarting his enemies, even if he is not entirely sure who these are. This is certainly true of the final scene, where the protagonist is plotting against everyone and yet no one in particular. Barabas shouts before he dies, "I would have brought confusion on you all." At the play's end we are left asking just who is the moral victor or unbiased commentator on events. Clearly, it is not Barabas, for he dies shouting "Damned Christians, dogs, and Turkish infidels." However, Ferneze's prejudice is also revealed in his comments to Calymath, "Now Selim note the unhallowed deeds of Jews" and "A Jew's courtesy: / For he that did by treason work our fall, / By treason hath delivered thee to us." We are left shocked and bewildered by the characters' honest admission of their own racial hatred, plotting, and double-crossing. No one emerges untarnished from the ruin of Barabas's plot.

Thus, even though the play appears to end positively—Malta's fortunes have turned, Barabas is dead and Calymath is captured—Marlowe concludes the action on a deeply ambivalent note. Fittingly, a dark irony permeates this scene: Marlowe leaves us to determine whether Divine Providence (God's will) or changing human fortunes (Machiavellian tactics) have had more influence on events. As always, we are left to provide the answers. Quite simply, The Jew of Malta leaves us draw our own conclusions, positing God and Machiavelli in a struggle for dominance over men's minds.