Webster based his plot on a true story set in Italy, and kept the Italian setting because like Shakespeare and other playwrights of his day, he had to use politically-acceptable foreign settings in which to explore ideas such as those presented in The Duchess of Malfi, which… 1242 Words 5 Pages Final: Long Essay While reading Othello, The Duchess of Malfi, and Paradise Lost there is a noticeable theme throughout all of them. Webster's two most important plays were both written by him alone: The White Devil 1612 and The Duchess of Malfi published 1623, but written in 1613 or 1614. The Duchess is pregnant and Bosola, suspecting her condition, hatches a plan to prove it to himself by giving her apricots, thought to induce labor. However, the Duchess is betrayed by her servant Bosola, who was secretly working for Ferdinand, and the Duchess and her two younger children are executed. It has the opposite effect and enables her to be sane. In her prison, the madmen confront the Duchess and Cariola. Act One, Scene Two The second scene plays continuously, without any stage interruption.
In the twentieth century, dozens of critics have written about the play. Bosola insists that she is making a mistake, and the trusting Duchess reveals to him her husband's identity. Ferdinand brings the Duchess a dead man's hand that he knows she will take for Antonio's and shows her wax figures that look like her husband and children. He also kept a journal throughout his career, jotting down scraps of poetry and quotations he found interesting. The Duchess and Antonio invent stories to conceal the birth of their first child and their plans to escape to Ancona.
The transformation happened over many years and did not affect every country at the same time. Because she has witnessed the exchange, it is a binding ceremony. This was not considered plagiarism but a sensible way to draw on the learning of those who had come before. Their comments remind the audience that a world does exist outside the malevolent environment of the action. The audience quickly realizes that these characters are the antithesis of the virtues Antonio praised as reflected in the French court.
So, Bosola must take revenge himself and kill Ferdinand and the Cardinal, dying himself in the process. They know that this will be their final parting. In one instance Ferdinand threatens the Duchess with their…. In her grief, the Duchess confides in Bosola, telling him everything. To make sure that their sister toes the line, the brothers finagle the Duchess into employing Bosola, a jaded ex-con who's working as Ferdinand's spy. Act 5 The action of the five scenes of act 5 is also rapid.
Castruccio tells him he thinks it best for princes to send deputies to fight in their stead, since when rulers fight themselves, it br eeds discontent at home. Richard Morton In the following essay, Morton examines how the language in The Duchess of Malfi contributes to the play's emotional intensity and dramatic power. Gender The Duchess represents many of the restrictions of being a woman in this time period. The Duchess has got her own plans, though. Winston sees in the play the longing of Webster and his contemporaries for Queen Elizabeth I, who had been dead for a decade when The Duchess of Malfi was first performed.
She shows how the relationships between the Duchess fortune and Antonio love are derived from earlier morality plays and emblem books. Neither of them realizes that she is married, and hence assume the baby is a bastard. One aspect of Renaissance literature that may strike readers in the twenty-first century as peculiar is the notion of imitation. Bosola is merely a hired hand, someone who will do their dirty work for them by humiliating the Duchess both publicly and privately. James's rule was guided by the strength of his religious convictions. Nevertheless, he seeks his financial reward.
During the late sixteenth century, dramas an plays became a big role in entertainment and madness became one of the major themes, as Salkeld recognises that 'the use of madness as a metaphor for subversion became increasingly marked throughout the first half of the seventeenth century '. A woman named Julia, with whom the Cardinal has been having an affair, becomes smitten with Bosola, and he convinces Julia to try and get a confession out of the Cardinal. The Duchess forces Antonio to flee to Milan with their eldest son. The Cardinal shows Bosola no gratitude but secretly arranges for him to be hired by Ferdinand to spy on the Duchess. Act 3 Several years pass before the five scenes in act 3 take place. After he leaves, the Duchess, now really worried about the safety of her family, flees the court with Antonio and their kids, but not before she lets slip to Bosola that she and Antonio are married. Some people deliberately take on the characteristics of melancholia, because it is thought to be a disease that affects great minds.
The incident sends the Duchess into labor, and she is rushed to her chamber. Bosola next orders her children and Cariola killed. Antonio, the Duchess's steward, talks with his friend Delio as they observe the others who pass through the chamber. Generally, the Renaissance is said to have begun in Italy during the fourteenth century and to have reached England about a century later. Bosola is reluctant, but eventually agrees. To protect his stature, James dealt severely with those who believed differently, including Puritans who eventually began to leave England for the New World , Catholics who are portrayed with irreverence in Webster's character of the Cardinal , and Jews who are treated with casual disrespect in The Duchess of Malfi and other popular works of literature from the period. Ferdinand surprises the Duchess in her bedroom, and when she tells him that she is married, he tells her she should never reveal to him the name of her lover lest terrible violence then be unleashed on all of them.
One by one the characters of the play meet their death. The Duchess shows a final sign of life, and before she truly dies, Bosola tells her that Antonio is still alive. The Cardinal tries to pay off Bosola, but Bosola stabs him. Antonio had told his son to stay away because Malfi was so corrupt at its core. At the Shrine of Our Lady of Loretto, the Duchess and Antonio review their situation. Even before he murders his sister and her children, the Cardinal is a hypocrite who loves gambling and keeps a mistress despite taking a vow of chastity.
He even said that nothing could change his feeling of conscience, not even all the wealth of the world. Please either update your browser to the newest version, or choose an alternative browser — visit or for help. Thus while this end of the act is largely happy, Webster gives the audience plenty of warning that such happiness will not last. In many ways, Bosola is the most complex character in the play, and the only one whose thinking and personality change from beginning to end. Today: Depression is a widespread disorder, thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance. She tells her lady Cariola of her intent, and insists that trusting Cariola with that secret is of greater value than trusting the maid with her life. The brothers Ferdinand and Cardinal was overbearing and selfish when it came down to their sister love life.