John Webster's play The Duchess of Malfi is an illustration of the unequal power relations between the sexes during the sixteenth century. In the play the brothers Ferdinand and the Cardinal are shown as men who want to control their sister the Duchess by not letting her remarry. Out of this situation emerges the Duchess who, in spite of her promise not to marry again (p. 1298), will do the complete opposite, thus defying male power. Her conversation with Antonio (lines 317-61, pp. 1292-3) is an example of this because in her speech the Duchess intends to make Antonio realize that she is against both the conventions of marriage codes and men's assumptions of women's sexuality.
The Duchess, after she puts her wedding-ring upon Antonio's finger, sets out to convince him that they have the right to become husband and wife. She tells him that his lower status should not stop her from marrying him. Being a Duchess, she argues, she has the power to "raise [him] higher" (line 319). When Antonio objects to such an "ambition" she even offers him her riches. Thus the Duc...
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- The principal characters and their roles We follow after bubbles, blown in th'air. Pleasure of life, what is't. Only the good hours of an ague The Jacobean age was one of questioning and uncertainty about many issues, such as religion, politics and law. At the same time it was rediscovering the potency of Classical texts of Rome and Greece, and reinterpreting tragic form to suit its own ends. The Duchess of Malfi is a revenge tragedy, but Webster has used the form for much more than just its entertainment value; he has used it as a vehicle for the exploration of some themes relevant to the society of his time.... [tags: Duchess of Malfi Webster Papers]
2605 words (7.4 pages)
- One can begin the discussion on the theme of incest in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ by understanding the social conception of ‘incest’. Talcott Parsons says-“ it is not so much the prohibition of incest in its negative aspect(maintaining sexual relations) …(Instead) Incest is withdrawal from the obligation to contribute to the formation and maintenance of supra-familial bonds on which major economic, political and religious functions of the society are dependent.” Ferdinand’s incestuous behaviour towards the duchess follows the similar pattern pointed above ,i.e., Ferdinand’s aim is not the achievement of sexual relations with his sister.... [tags: Literary Analysis]
880 words (2.5 pages)
- Miss Independent: The Duchess’ Battle with the Patriarchy A woman of Renaissance-ian nature was stereotypically linked to the male dominant in her life. In contrast, the women that were powerful – and there were plenty – were subject to the idea that the female body was not strong enough to live up to a male counterpart. Rarely is the support of feminism and feminine sexuality seen in a time ruled and respected by powerful males. John Webster, however, presents a character of social prowess and sexual determination in his play The Duchess of Malfi, juxtaposing the social views of a woman with his characterization of the Duchess.... [tags: Marriage, Family, Sociology, Woman]
1253 words (3.6 pages)
- John Webster's Play The Duchess of Malfi In the opening of The Duchess of Malfi takes place between Delio and Antonio, a steward of the Duchess and his friend. Webster makes his audience aware that Antonio has journeyed outside Malfi, to France. The words "France, Frenchman, French" all appear within the first four lines of the text, a blunt indicator to ensure that the audience, however inattentive, grasps the point that Antonio has been absent from Malfi. He supports this point by referring to the timespan since Antonio last saw Delio, "You have been long in France." The word "long" suggests that a considerable time has passed since he was last resident in Malfi.... [tags: Webster Duchess Malfi Essays]
2929 words (8.4 pages)
- The Duchess Of Malfi by John Webster as A Revenge Tragedy “The Duchess of Malfi” is a macabre, tragic play, written by the English dramatist John Webster. It begins as a love story, with a Duchess who marries beneath her class, and ends as a nightmarish tragedy as her two brothers exact their revenge, destroying themselves in the process.... [tags: Webster Malfi Duchess]
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- Webster based his plot on a true story set in Italy, a story that has as central themes inequality, injustice, and corruption. In my opinion one of the best techniques that Webster used to transmit these themes was to make the characters appear to be something that they are not. Furthermore, all the important characters of the play have both good and bad sides, and some of them (Cardinal) are “bad” but appear to be “good”. This contrast between good and bad and the changes of personality, help the author to build a play full of tragedy and therefore this maintains the reader’s attention focused on the play and anxious to see what is going to happen next.... [tags: The Duchess of Malfi]
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- Tragic figures are characters that aim for a goal but never reach it. They suffer throughout their story and are most likely to die before the play ends. The tragic hero is the most commonly known of these figures, but tragic villains also exist. An example of the tragic hero is Franz Woyzeck, of Georg Büchner’s working-class tragedy ‘Woyzeck’. Compared and contrasted to Woyzeck is the tragic villain, Ferdinand, of John Webster’s tragedy ‘The Duchess of Malfi’. Both characters fail to gain what they desire because they suffer of a mental illness.... [tags: Tragic hero, Tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi]
2050 words (5.9 pages)
- English literature is continuously developing into a more complex, and interwoven network of shared, or argued ideas. Proof of this goes back into all of the varieties of literature that we have discovered from times past, as well as anything new that is written today. One example of these works of art that has been studied intensely over the years includes the story of The Duchess of Malfi written by John Webster somewhere between 1580 and 1625. This is a story of tragic loss, desperate love, and vicious vengeance which all comes together to form one of the greatest tragedies of all time.... [tags: Tragedy, Shakespearean tragedy]
1347 words (3.8 pages)
- Inviting Destruction in Duchess of Malfi It has been asserted that, through her willfulness, the Duchess invites her own destruction. However the assertion has to be looked at from a 17th century point-of-view, as well as a modern one. The assertion is firmly rooted in the issue of human rights, and that issue has changed and evolved an enormous amount over the past few centuries, since Duchess of Malfi was written. Society in the early 17th century was very different from ours today; then, women were far below men in stature and respect - they had no rights, and husbands and other male family members treated them more like possessions than human beings.... [tags: Duchess of Malfi Essays]
917 words (2.6 pages)
- The Duchess in John Webster’s tragic play, The Duchess of Malfi, and Beatrice Joanna in Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s The Changeling, are both strong women living in a male-dominated society. The two women attempt to free themselves from this subordination by choosing to love that they desire. Both pay with their lives for this chance at freedom, but differ in their moral decisions about how they attempt it. Beatrice Joanna’s plan involves murder, whereas the widowed Duchess merely lives the life she chooses, then plots to leave Malfi.... [tags: John Webster Thomas Middleton William Rowley]
1319 words (3.8 pages)