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 The Jew of Malta Study Guide (Choose to Continue)

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The Jew of Malta: Top Ten Quotes

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Total Votes: 144
  1. “Weigh not men, and therefore, not men’s words,” (Prologue, l.8).This is spoken by Machiavel who is a symbol of Barabas’s philosophy. It is a cynical attitude about not trusting others or what they say. Human worth and words are not important.
  2. "Who hateth me but for my happiness” (I,1, l.110)Barabas feels he is not so much hated on religious grounds but because others are jealous of his good fortune and wealth.
  3. “And better one want for a common good,/ Than many perish for a private man (I,ii, ll. 99-100).The Governor of Malta, Ferneze, seizes the wealth of Barabas, the Jew, with this excuse that the money will be used for a common good—to pay the tribute money to the Turks—rather than just make Barabas a rich individual.
  4. “Excess of wealth is cause of covetousness” (I,ii, l. 124).Ferneze blames Barabas for being rich; it leads others to do wrong, and therefore, it is all his own fault if others take his money from him.
  5. “Rather had I, a Jew, be hated thus,/ Than pitied in a Christian poverty” (I,1,l.112).Barabas knows Christians talk a lot about the spiritual value of poverty and the corruption of money, but he would rather be hated for his money than poor.
  6. “It is no sin to deceive a Christian” (II,iii, l. 306).Barabas explains to his daughter Abigail that she is not lying to lead Lodowick on, because Christians do not believe they have to be faithful to heretic Jews.
  7. “How sweet the bells ring, now the nuns are dead” (IV, 1, l. 1).Barabas has been responsible for poisoning all the nuns because his daughter converted to Christianity. He rejoices in the funeral knell.
  8. “For, so I live, perish may all the world!” (V,v,l.10).Barabas plots to undo everyone once he is Governor of Malta—Christians, Turks, anyone in his way. He only cares for his own skin.
  9. “Fornication? But that/ Was in another country, and besides/ The wench is dead” (IV,1, ll. 41-43).Barabas’s confession to the friars about his sinful life is a bit of dark humor that reveals Barabas’s complete lack of moral dimension.
  10. “O, help me, Selim! Help me Christians!/Governor, why stand you all so pitiless?”? (V, v, ll. 70-71).Barabas falls into his own trap, a pot of boiling oil set for the Turk, Selim. He begs mercy from the Turk and from the Christians and Governor Ferneze whom he has betrayed, but they do not pity him who had no pity.



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