Character Analysis of Bosola

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Both of the above quotations have elements of truth to them, but I think that to look at the character of Bosola, an audience would concentrate more on his actions and how they change his interpretation of the brothers, causing him to kill them at the end of the play. There are many layers to Bosolas character which encourage us to think that he is mentally unstable, e.g. killing the Duchess for his own self-interest as well as for the brothers. This does not make him a corrupt human being, but someone who has been forced into a corner, unsure of his actual status. Neither quote defines his change of self and portrays Bosola as a particular human being instead of one who transforms as a result of the corrupt society around him. He moves from our first impressions a murderer who is only out for himself, living off the death of others, to a man who seems to be a lost member of society trying to find his way in a world where money and greed take over. Bosola is seen the play as `Malcontent', a person unhappy with society, as well as with his position within that society. Webster has created a character that never knows where he stands in regard with society. He is challenged, and to a certain extent controlled by the brothers who are only out for their own self interest, but unfortunately by the time Bosola realises their nature it is too late to right the wrongs for which he has committed.

We first see Bosola near the start of the play when he has returned from the `galleys' after a prison sentence for murder. In his language he conveys his emotional state and the anguish he has been put through whilst being locked away.

`I fell into the galleys in your service, where, for two years together, I wore two towels instead of a...

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...eading up to the death of the Duchess, Bosolas character adopts a more detached and withdrawn stance in the scene. His language is precise and to the point. The audience could interpret this as cold malice on Bosolas part by the way that he shows no remorse toward the Duchess and just wants her dead. Another way this could be interpreted is that his lack of words indicates that he doesn't like what he's doing and so wants it over with as soon as possible. When Bosola asks the Duchess;

`Doth not death frighten you?' (IV.ii.208)

I think that this line shows more than anything that Bosola is more humane than if this line was compared to a line near the start of the play. I think he genuinely cares about the Duchess, as it is as if his question should have been asked by someone else and not him. It seems an odd thing to ask just before he kills her.

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