Just as Barabas boasts that 'I learn'd in Florence how to kiss my hand' (2.3.23) and impersonates a French musician with elan as part of his plan to dupe the courtesan Bellamira and his slave Ithamore
, Bellamira in turn laments the absence of Venetian merchants and 'rare-witted gentlemen' from Padua who were earlier her customers (3.1.7).
Nevertheless, like Faustus, Barabas engages in an unsuccessful attempt at forging a friendship, in this case not with an actual devil but with the Moor Ithamore
, purchased as a slave.
We looked first at "The Prologue to the Stage, at the Cockpit," and experimented with having it read both by David Acton, who was cast as Barabas, and by Robert Mountford, who spoke it as a performer rather than as any particular character but did suggest that it might be rather neatly delivered by Ithamore
in his capacity as duplicitous support act to Barabas.
Lanre Malaolu's wickedly gullible Ithamore
is a splendid foil to Barabas' destructive plans in director Justin Audibert's exciting debut RSC production.
Malaolu is a sensational Ithamore
, shooting around the stage like a rocket, with a use of his body which verges on the balletic.
Lanre Malaolu, too, gives an energetic performance as Ithamore
, employed as Barabas' Moorish slave and accomplice, who hates the Christians as much as he does.
While not based on a particular real-life counterpart, Marlowe's Bellamira's seduction of Ithamore
, according to Salkeld, alludes topically to the growing presence of black servants in contemporary London.
And, on a question of detail, he claims that in The Jew of Malta Barabas fails to poison Ithamore
and his confederates despite their deaths being announced in the following scene.
In the conclusion of the chapter on Othello, Iago's genealogy as a villain is traced back to Aaron of Titus who "is fashioned on a Jew (Barabas) who resembles a Turk (Ithamore
) [both in Marlowe's The Jew of Malta]" (190).
Having just poisoned a whole nunnery in the Jew of Malta, Ithamore
muses about keeping the killing a secret, assuring his master, "For my part fear you not." And Barabas replies simply "I'd cut thy throat if I did" (4.1.11-12).
In particular, figures such as Calymath and Ithamore
in The Jew of Malta, developed the concept of the Eastern intruder in Western lands.
's dismissive comment of the nuns, 'Here's a drench to poison a whole stable of Flanders mares: I'll carry't to the nuns with a powder' (iii.