The Bronze Bow Characters
by Elizabeth George Speare

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The Bronze Bow Characters

The main characters in The Bronze Bow are Daniel bar Jamin, Leah bar Jamin, Rosh, and Jesus of Nazareth.

  • Daniel bar Jamin is a Jewish eighteen-year-old who is consumed by hatred for the Romans occupying Israel. He escapes enslavement, joins a rebel band, and ultimately embraces the teachings of Jesus.
  • Leah bar Jamin is Daniel’s fifteen-year-old sister. Initially traumatized by the Romans’ violence, she comes into her own over the course of the novel.
  • Rosh is the selfish, vengeful leader of the rebel group that Daniel joins and later leaves.
  • Jesus of Nazareth is a preacher who exemplifies selflessness and the power of love.

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Characters

Amalek

Amalek is the blacksmith to whom Daniel had been sold for a period of ten years. Amalek may be fairly well-to-do because he has at least two indentured servants working for him, Daniel and Simon. Although Amalek has had some financial success in life, he dies without “a relative to his name, nor friend either.”

Daniel bar Jamin

Eighteen-year-old Daniel has escaped slavery by living in the hills above Galilee. When Daniel meets Joel and Thacia, it has been five years since he has seen anyone from his hometown. He has been estranged even from the sole survivors of his family—his grandmother and his younger sister, Leah.

Throughout most of the novel, Daniel is motivated solely by his consuming hatred for the Romans who have killed his father and his uncle. He also blames the Romans for his mother’s death from exposure and grief, for his own enslavement, for his sister’s madness, and for the eventual death of his grandmother. Daniel’s hate is so strong that he makes a solemn vow to God to avenge his parents and to work toward freeing Israel from Roman occupation for as long as he lives.

When Daniel meets Rosh, the rebel insurgent leader, he thinks he finds a kindred spirit. He wants to believe that Rosh is the leader for whom the Jews have been waiting, the promised Messiah who will come to liberate the people of Israel from their captivity.

Daniel enlists the help of Joel and Thacia in his fight for freedom, but he continues to be motivated by hatred. Gradually, however, he hears a different message from Jesus. The words and actions of this decidedly unorthodox preacher begin to affect Daniel’s heart. He sees Jesus feed the hungry, heal the sick, and minister to the soul. Daniel begins to compare the characteristics of Jesus as a leader to those of Rosh’s alleged leadership.

When Joel is imprisoned because of actions directed by Rosh, and Rosh steadfastly refuses to intervene, Daniel makes the final break with the false leader. As Daniel grieves the loss of his friends Samson and Nathan, he remembers Jesus’ words of caution: “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.”

After Jesus brings Leah back from the brink of death, Daniel is ready to make a leap of faith and follow the true Messiah. By the end of the novel, he learns that “only love can bend the bow of bronze.”

Ebol

Ebol is the young sentry who works as lookout for Rosh. He is not largely drawn but still wields a bit of passive-aggressive power. In chapter 10, Ebol waits three days before giving Daniel the message that Daniel’s grandmother is dying. In Rosh’s world where there is little room for personal expression, Ebol may be trying to wrest some power of his own. His actions are indicative of the self-serving attitude that pervades the camp.

Grandmother

Daniel and Leah’s grandmother takes in the children after their parents die. Little more than a peasant herself, the grandmother cannot provide for her growing grandchildren, so she feels that she must sell Daniel to the local blacksmith, Amalek, in order to survive. Her story is quite pitiable. To support even Leah, each day the grandmother follows along behind the threshers and collects the grain that they leave behind.

Despite her financial hardships, however, it is clear that their grandmother loves both of her grandchildren. When she is dying, she asks...

(The entire section is 3,151 words.)