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The Jew of Malta

The Jew of Malta


by Christopher Marlowe


Character Analysis

Pilia-Borza is Bellamira's pimp. True to pimp form, he's all about the stealing, lying and cheating. For a while, it seems like his plot with Bellamira to blackmail Barabas will work out: Pilia-Borza coerces Barabas to fork over a fair bit of money, and, in a really good move, declines Barabas's invitation to dinner. (We're pretty sure that would have ended with a poisoned pimp.)

In any case, you can't play a player, and Pilia-Borza just isn't good enough. A furious Barabas poisons him and his co-conspirators when he sneaks into their house in disguise. True, the poison doesn't kick in until after Pilia-Borza and Bellamira have run to Ferneze with the truth about his involvement in all the recent murders. But we're still calling a moral victory for Barabas.

But who is Pilia-Borza? What does he want? We don't get too many clues, except for this one hint that he drops on his way over to Barabas's house. Pilia-Borza says of Barabas that he'll "use him in his kind," where "in his kind" roughly translates to "as he deserves."

So, does Pilia-Borza mean "I'll go be a jerk to Barabas because he's a Jew"? Or does he mean, "I'm going to go be extra-cunning and wily because I'm dealing with a fellow schemer"? If the second one is the case, we'd think that Pilia-Borza and Barabas are of the same "kind."