Comparison of the Undertones in the Plays Edward the Second versus The Dutchess of Malfi

Comparison of the Undertones in the Plays Edward the Second versus The Dutchess of Malfi

Length: 653 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Comparison of the Undertones in the Plays Edward the Second versus The Dutchess of Malfi

The plays, “Edward the Second, “ and “ The Duchess of Malfi.” I will be discussing what lead to Edward and the Duchess’s demised and how did the way they were murdered represented in the plays. I will also show what were the undertones in the two scenes, and how did they represent in the plays.
From the beginning, we learned that Edward was a homosexual, who was in love with Gaveston. We can have a sense that the whole play was played around Edward’s homosexuality and his affair toward Gaveston, until the very end of Edward’s brutal demise.
We learned in the beginning that the widow Duchess had fallen in love with Antonio, who was not in her social class. With two over protective siblings, the Cardinal (the eldest) and Ferdinand (her twin) were suffocating her. Evidences of over protections appeared with Ferdinand asking Bosola to watch over her while they were away.

Thy absence made me droop and pine away,
For as the lovers of fair Danae,
When she was locked up in abrasen
Tower, desired her more and waxed outrageous,
So did it sure with me; and now thy sight (2, 2, 52-56)

Ferdinand Your inclination to shed blood rides post
Before my occasion to use you. I give you that
To live I’ th’ court, here, and observe the Duchess:
To note all the particulars of her ‘haviour,
What suitors do solicit her for marriage
And whom she best affects: she’s a young widow,
I would not have her marry again. (1, 1, 241-247)

Edward and the Duchess are two rebels, trying to rebel against what they thought was wrong with their situations. For Edward he felt that if he was the king, who is all mighty, then he should have the right to be happy with anyone he chooses. He might have loved being a king, but it were the very thing that kept him from happiness. In a way, he was being choked by his own crown, preventing him from being happy.
For the Duchess, she too rebelled against his two brothers’ over protections of her. When I read this play. I was reminded of what someone once had told me. How would you hold a bird in your hand? If you would to hold it too tight, its only option would be to fly away.

Nay, then lay violent hands upon your king;

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Comparison of the Undertones in the Plays Edward the Second versus The Dutchess of Malfi." 13 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Duchess of Malfi: A Character Study Essay

- 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]

Research Papers
852 words (2.4 pages)

John Webster's Play The Duchess of Malfi Essay

- 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]

Research Papers
2929 words (8.4 pages)

Essay about The Tragic Hero Of The Duchess Of Malfi

- 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]

Research Papers
2050 words (5.9 pages)

Essay on The Duchess Of Malfi By John Webster

- 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]

Research Papers
1347 words (3.8 pages)

The Duchess of Malfi Essay examples

- 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]

Research Papers
2605 words (7.4 pages)

A Comparison of Pride in King Lear and The Duchess of Malfi Essay

- The Sin of Pride Exposed in King Lear, and The Duchess of Malfi   In this brief monograph, we shall be hunting down and examining various creatures from the bestiary of Medieval/Renaissance thought. Among these are the fierce lion of imperious, egotistical power, a pair of fantastic peacocks, one of vanity, one of preening social status, and the docile lamb of humility. The lion and the peacocks are of the species known as pride, while the lamb is of an entirely different, in fact antithetical race, that of humility and forgiveness....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
1555 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Inviting Destruction in Duchess of Malfi

- 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]

Research Papers
917 words (2.6 pages)

The Standards and Values by which the Court of Malfi Lives Essays

- The Standards and Values by which the Court of Malfi Lives The values that govern character's decisions in The Duchess of Malfi are diametrically opposed to the modern day ethos by which we are accustomed to live. The play is set in a time and society where today's basic sociability, fairness and freedom from oppression were completely unheard of and unprecedented. Those in power saw no point to their authority if they did not take full advantage of their influence, nobody would lookout for anyone else and people's livelihoods depended on kings' fickle whims....   [tags: The Duchess of Malfi Literature Essays]

Research Papers
1656 words (4.7 pages)

Defying Male Power in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi Essay

-    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....   [tags: Duchess of Malfi Essays]

Research Papers
599 words (1.7 pages)

The Duchess Of Malfi by John Webster as A Revenge Tragedy Essay

- 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]

Free Essays
1417 words (4 pages)

Here Mortimer, sit thou in Edward’s throne,
Warwick and Lancaster, wear you my crown;
Was ever king thus overruled as I? (1, 4, 35-38)

Ferdinand Now her me:
You live in a rank pasture here, I’ th’ court;
There is a kind of honey-dew that’s deadly:
‘Twill poison your fame; look to’t; be not cunning,
For they whose faces do belie their hearts
Are witches, ere they arrive at twenty years;
Ay, and give the devil suck. (1, 1, 297-302)

Duchess How can the church build faster?
We now are man and wife, and it is the church
That must but echo this-Maid, stand apart-
I now am blind. (1, 1, 482-484)

As we come to the death scenes of Edward. His rebellion of his situations and his relationship with Gaveston, had came to an end. As the hire assassin, Lightborn enters his cell where he was kept, murdered him in a way that represented the undertones of this whole play. The play wasn’t about Edward‘s crown; it was about his homosexuality, and the jealousies of the Lords. They all saw how close their king was to Gaveston and they wanted to be as well liked as he was.
In the death scenes of the Duchess, it was slightly similar to Edward being choked by his crown, preventing him from his happiness. The Duchess; however, was not choked by more than just her status, but by her two brothers as well. How she was murdered, being choked to death by an executioner and her unwillingness to fight to lived, only tells me, that she was already dead. Her executioner was not the one that was doing the actually killing, but instead it was her brother (Ferdinand), who has choked the life out of her with his over-protection. Being choked to death was the prefect reflection; of what the play was about, with Ferdinand as the executioner and the style she was murdered represented her isolation from the world due to his brother.

There hands were never stained with innocent blood
Nor shall they now be tainted with a kings’s ( 5, 5, 80-81)

To rid thee of they life; Matrevis, come (5, 5, 106)

So, lay the table down, and stamp on it,
But not too hard, lest that you bruise his body (5, 5, 111-113)

Doth not death fright you? (4, 2, 202)

Duchess Who would be afraid on’t,
Know to meet such excellent company
In th’ other world? (4, 2, 203-205)

Must go upon their knees [kneels] come, violent death,
Serve for mandragora to make me sleep.
Go tell my brothers, when. I am laid out,
They then may feed in quiet.
They strangle her (4, 2, 226-230)

In conclusion, the two death scenes told me the undertones of what the two plays were really was. The sexual nature in, “Edward the Second” revolves on his homosexuality, while in the, “The Duchess of Malfi,” the sexual nature was the obsessions of his brother to protect her.
Return to