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The Jew of Malta



Characters Ferneze

Barabas's great enemy. As the governor of Malta, Ferneze is presented as the merchant's moral opponent—he is Christian, law-abiding, and anti- Machiavellian. However, events in the play undermine this dichotomous characterization, suggesting that Ferneze is as morally bankrupt and Machiavellian as Barabas. In reality, the governor schemes and is dishonest about his motives. This is shown by his decision to tax the Maltese Jews in order to pay the tribute and later, when he breaks his alliance with the Turks. Essentially, Ferneze is a religious hypocrite who hides his lust for power behind ideals of Christian morality.