"There Is A Method In Man's Wickedness"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Arbaces, King of Iberia, enters the stage in Act V, sc. iv, with his sword drawn, breathing threats of the dire deeds he is about to perform. They include the murder of his friend, Gobrias, the lord protector of the realm; the incestuous ravishing of Panthea, who he believes is his sister, but for whom he has a great and apparently unnatural love; and his own suicide. When the captain Mardonius enters, Arbaces asks him if Gobrias has been summoned. Mardonius says that he has and then comments on Arbaces' wild appearance, saying that he fears the king will take his own life. Arbaces assures him that suicide is not his immediate intention. He says that he will come to it in time, and when he does he will inform Mardonius what he is going to do; he will, he says, have lived such a wicked life and will have committed so many sins that Mardonius will raise no objection. Arbaces thus sums up the situation:

There is a method in man's wickedness,–
It grows up by degrees: I am not come
So high as killing of myself; there are
A hundred thousand sins 'twixt me and it,
Which I must do.