The Bronze Bow Questions and Answers
by Elizabeth George Speare

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Who is Malthace in Elizabeth Speare's "The Bronze Bow"?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Malthace, also known as Thacia or Thace, is Joel's sister and the leading female figure in Elizabeth Speare's novel The Bronze Bow. Thacia is portrayed as a beautiful, intelligent, intense young girl, who caters to the needs of others and correctly interprets the verse regarding what it takes to bend the bronze bow. Like her brother and Daniel, Malthace anticipates the coming of the Messiah but chooses to wait patiently for Him instead of resorting to violence against the Romans.

After initially shunning Daniel, Thacia dresses his wounds after he is injured by a Roman soldier, hides him in their home, and nurses him back to health. She also comes up with a plan for Joel to learn the names of the rich guests attending the banquet, dresses up as Joel so that he has an alibi, and carries a heavy load on her back for a mile while Roman soldiers watch her closely. Thacia is also a positive influence on Daniel's sister, Leah, and she goes out of her way to spend time with the shy, traumatized girl. In addition to her compassion and strength, Thacia also has faith in Jesus and proves to Daniel that only love can bend the bronze bow.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Malthace, the most prominent female character in The Bronze Bow, is the daughter of a Rabbi and the twin sister of Joel, one of the two main male protagonists.  Her full name is Malthace bar Hezron, and she is sometimes affectionately called Thacia or Thace.  Malthace is eighteen when the story begins, independent, intelligent, and hardy, and as such represents the power of women during her time and in the Kingdom of God.  Like her brother she awaits the Messiah, although she does not chafe as restlessly as her brother as she anticipates His coming.  Malthace shows her strength in ministry to those in need, and her intelligence in her determined actions as well as her knowledge of the scriptures.  It is she who correctly interprets the meaning of the verse from the Song of David which gives the book its name, the "bronze bow", explaining to Joel and Daniel that to be able to bend a bow of bronze would be to be able to do the impossible, which is exactly what God in his power will enable His warriors to do.  Malthace makes mistakes, but repents and learns from her errors, showing the depth of her character, and her capacity to change and grow.

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