Critical essays on the duchess of malfi

Their spy in her household is Bosola, her master of horse.

Critical essays on the duchess of malfi

See also John Webster Criticism. The Duchess of Malfi is one of the most frequently revived Jacobean plays other than those of Shakespeare.

The play as a whole features a complex interweaving of lechery, incest, murder, and torture with nobility, tenderness, and forgiveness.

B. The Aristocratic Age

The darkness and horror of The Duchess of Malfi are dramatically compelling, but its unexpected glimpses of light give it a complexity and richness that have maintained the interest of scholars and audiences for centuries.

In The White Devil Vittoria Corombona is powerful and intelligent, if also wicked; the title character of The Duchess of Malfi is strong, independent, and noble.

The Duchess of Malfi literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Duchess of Malfi. The Duchess of Malfi and a Certain Fish Story. The Duchess of Malfi Critical Essays John Webster. Homework Help The Duchess of Malfi is a finer play than The White Devil, in part because of the noble character of the duchess herself. Her. BHU Syllabus. Banaras Hindu University has released BHU Syllabus for various undergraduate and post graduate courses. Candidates who are studying in BA,, Bed, MBBS, MSC, MCA, BSC and other courses or going to participate in BHU entrance exam they can check their complete syllabus through this single page.

The heart of the story is the relationship between the widowed Duchess and her steward, Antonio, whom she secretly marries, defying both social convention and the wishes of her brothers, the Cardinal and Ferdinand, her twin.

The brothers want the Duchess to remain unmarried, appealing to Christian piety; however, as the play later reveals, greed and incestuous lust are their true motivations. Years pass before they discover the truth about her marriage, which is uncovered by the spy Daniel de Bosola. At the behest of Ferdinand, Bosola kills the Duchess, but is then overwhelmed with remorse.

Bosola plans to save Antonio, who had escaped, and punish the brothers, but he mistakenly kills Antonio instead. Bosola then attacks the Cardinal, but is himself attacked by Ferdinand.

Tagger, Theodor

Bosola succeeds in killing both brothers, but is himself killed in the process. Ferdinand is the Duke of Calabria, a menacing man who appears obsessed with the repression of sexual impulses. Though he is the twin brother of the Duchess, he is cruel to her from the beginning of the play, and his employment of Bosola as a spy is an indication of his distrustful nature.

Critical essays on the duchess of malfi

His affiliation with the church lends him a seemingly supernatural power, but that power is evil; more than once, the Critical essays on the duchess of malfi is affiliated with the devil.

In an act symbolic of his diabolic alliance, the Cardinal murders his secret lover, Julia, with a poisoned Bible. The Duchess stands in contrast to her brothers, but she is not flawless.

In her scenes with Antonio, she is unabashedly sexual. She is passionate and sometimes haughty, though she is also maternally tender, dignified, and pious.

During her torture and death at the hands of Ferdinand and Bosola, she demonstrates a Christian attitude of forgiveness and confidence in her salvation. The character of Antonio lacks the complexity of the three siblings; he is more a victim than an actor in the tragedy.

He is a worthy man, though of a lower class than the Duchess, and his distaste for lechery stands in contrast to the lustfulness of nearly every other man in the play.

Bosola begins the play as cynical and self-serving. As he manipulates the Duchess into revealing the truth to him, he appears utterly without scruples or compassion. Yet the transformation of Bosola in the final act of the play leaves his character open to interpretation.

Major Themes Themes central to The Duchess of Malfi include identity, sexuality, and power, which are all closely intertwined in the tragedy.

The theme of identity is carried through the play in several ways. The twin relationship between Ferdinand and the Duchess makes the characters mirrors for each other; the frequent presence of mirrors as stage props makes the metaphor explicit.

The Duchess also battles with the issue of conflicting public and private identities: Her brothers press upon her the identity of the virtuous widow, one that she is unwilling to accept.

The theme of sexuality is tied to identity, particularly in regards to Ferdinand and the Duchess; his apparent desire for her is a perversion of socially acceptable sexuality as well as a kind of narcissism.

Sexuality is generally linked to danger and violence, as the most explicitly sexual characters are shown to be the most evil. Even the comparatively healthy sexuality of the Duchess is considered suspect, a sign of excess passion, even if it is not, as Ferdinand and the Cardinal would imagine, a mark of depravity.

More generally, however, the play opens the question of the bases of power and authority, and who rightfully holds it. The corrupted authority of Ferdinand and the Cardinal casts doubt on the power they wield, while the nobility of the Duchess as she faces her death suggests the possibility of a different sort of authority.

For decades the play was one of those commanded by royalty, and it has been performed throughout the centuries as one of the great tragedies of the English Renaissance. The role of the Duchess continues to be a favorite of leading actresses, including Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Juliet Stevenson.

As critic John Russell Brown has suggested, The Duchess of Malfi offers a rich variety of interpretive possibilities for the stage, allowing it to retain its relevance for modern audiences. Literary scholars have focused their attention on both the form and the themes of the play.

Forker has described Webster as one of the first playwrights successfully to create distinct psychological portraits of his characters, a claim with which later critics have concurred. But because the Duchess dies in the fourth act, the fifth act is sometimes seen as disconnected from the coherent whole of the first four acts.

Jacqueline Pearson has considered the play in generic terms, maintaining that the difference between the fifth act and the others is the presence of tragicomic elements, setting the final scenes apart from the pure tragedy of the earlier part of the play.

Bradbrook has pointed out, The Duchess of Malfi also incorporates the dramatic form of the masque, a genre that would have been readily recognized and understood by a Renaissance audience. A trend toward feminist studies of Renaissance drama in the late s and s brought the Duchess to the attention of several scholars.

As a strong, sexual woman who nonetheless dies proclaiming Christian piety and forgiveness, the Duchess has resisted definitive interpretation.John Webster's classic revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi was first performed in and published in This guide offers students an introduction to its critical and performance history, including recent versions on stage and screen.

A biography of German dramatist Bertolt Brecht. one of the most prominent figures in the 20th-century theatre, Bertolt Brecht (Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht) was born in .

Mode of Examination The paper will be divided into sections A, B and C. M.M. = 60 Section A Multiple choice questions monstermanfilm.com1 will be an objective type question covering the entire syllabus. The Duchess of Malfi: A True Villain - According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of ‘villain’ is “a character in a story, movie, etc., who does bad things” (Merriam-Webster).

ONE. But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction--what, has that got to do with a room of one's own? I will try to explain. The Duchess of Malfi John Webster The Duchess of Malfi literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Duchess of Malfi.

The Duchess of Malfi, John Webster - Essay -