The Jew of Malta | Study Guide

Christopher Marlowe

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The Jew of Malta | Act 4, Scene 4 | Summary



Ithamore, Bellamira, and Pilia-Borza plunge into revelry, toasting repeatedly with cups of wine. Ithamore boasts of the villainous acts he has shared with Barabas, referring to the deaths of Mathias and Lodowick, the poisoning of the nuns, and the murder of Friar Barnardine. Bellamora and Pilia-Borza, in a series of asides, take due note, commenting that they will betray Ithamore to the governor after Ithamore extorts more gold from Barabas.

Barabas enters, disguised as a French musician. The others entreat him to entertain them, which he does after offering them a poisoned nosegay of flowers to smell. Ithamore closes the scene by declaring that 1,000 crowns should now be demanded of Barabas, since it is no sin to ruin a Jew.


The luxurious excesses of Ithamore, Bellamira, and Pilia-Borza are juxtaposed in this scene with Barabas's persistent ingenuity, as he fortifies his disguise with appropriate phrases in French and a musical performance on the lute. The poisoned nosegay adds a bizarre, quasi-comic element to the scene.

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