Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Barabas (bah-RAB-uhs), the wealthy, miserly Jew of Malta who guides his actions by Machiavellian policy that transcends all human ties of affection and loyalty. With considerable reason, he resents the Christian rulers of Malta, who arbitrarily deprive him of his fortune, and he chooses a particularly cruel form of revenge, setting the young man his daughter loves against the governor’s son in a duel fatal to both combatants. Rejected by the two people for whom he has any feeling, his daughter and his servant Ithamore, he contrives the murder of each and finally betrays Malta to its Turkish enemies. He is caught in the trap that he lays for Selim Calymath and dies cursing humankind.


Abigail, his daughter. She lies and professes her conversion to Christianity as a means to retrieve her father’s hidden treasure, but the death of Mathias so disillusions her that she enters a nunnery to escape Barabas’ evil.


Ithamore (eeth-uh-MOH-ree), Barabas’ slave, who is as ruthless as his master. He carries out the murder of Abigail, the friars, and the nuns, and he delivers the fraudulent challenges to Mathias and Lodowick as the Jew wishes. He readily betrays his master, however, to Bellamira, hoping to make her his mistress with his own eloquence and Barabas’ money.



(The entire section is 532 words.)

The Jew of Malta Character Analysis

The Jew of Malta Barabas

The soliloquy that opens the first act reveals a greedy merchant, busily counting his money and complaining about the lack of financial...

(The entire section is 380 words.)

The Jew of Malta Other Characters

Abigail is Barabas' beautiful daughter. She is in love with Mathias, but is forced by her father to agree to a betrothal...

(The entire section is 1230 words.)