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John Webster - Duchess of Malfi

by: Kimberly Burke

John Webster - Duchess of Malfi EH 203

Marketplace > Jacksonville State University > Foreign Language > EH 203 > John Webster Duchess of Malfi
Kimberly Burke
Jacksonville State University
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These are the notes I took in class on Webster and his work, Duchess of Malfi.
Survey of English Literature I
Dr. Gates
Class Notes
Webster, Malfi
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kimberly Burke on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EH 203 at Jacksonville State University taught by Dr. Gates in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 23 views. For similar materials see Survey of English Literature I in Foreign Language at Jacksonville State University.

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Date Created: 02/28/16
British Lit – John Webster Duchess of Malfi • Duchess of Malfi o Characters § Cardinal – Ferdinand & Duchess’ brother, keeps Julia as a mistress, Killed by Bosola § Ferdinand – Duke of Calabria, Cardinal & Duchess’ brother, hires Bosola as a spy, thinks he is a werewolf (Lycanthropy) • Killed by Cardinal • Flamboyant, negative moral character § Duchess of Malfi – Ferdinand & Cardinal’s sister § Cariola – Duchess’ woman § Bosola – hired by brothers to spy on Duchess • Told by Ferdinand that he was not supposed to kill Duchess & he will not get paid • Realizes he did wrong • Kills Cardinal, dies from wounds § Antonio – steward of the household of the duchess/treasurer • Marries Duchess, has one remaining son in the end § Delio – Antonio’s friend, houses Antonio & surviving son § Julia – Castruccio’s wife, Cardinal’s mistress § Old Lady - the butt of Bosola’s gruesome jesting § Echo – changes the meaning of repeated phrases, echoes Antonio § Castruccio – old lord, Julia’s husband § Marquis of Pescara – nobleman with superior ethical sense § Count Malateste - nobleman, proposed by Ferdinand as a second husband for the duchess. § Silvio – a lord of Milan § Roderigo & Grisolan – gentlemen attending the duchess § Doctor - employed to treat Duke Ferdinand in his madness, extreme self-confidence leads him to a beating by the madman § Madmen – used to torture Duchess § Executioners – strangle Duchess, Cariola, & 2 children • Disruption of moral order – like in King Lear o Lear – siblings willing to get rid of family – “filial ingratitude” o Malfi – brothers don’t want their sister to marry again § Set up a spy in her household to report any suspicion of marriage • Duchess is a fraternal twin • Selects husband in secrecy, has child o Private marriage to Antonio – proposes to him o Calls forward her maid to witness marriage o Pledge bond = marriage – legit to them (like Shakespeare) • Brothers want to expose Duchess • Subsequent scenes – someone behind the scenes witnessing & comes out to turn the tables on everyone – sinister use of hiding • Bosola exposes Duchess, Brothers torture Duchess o King Lear – § Edgar pretends madness as a disguise b/c if he doesn’t disguise himself he will die § Lear has stress madness/disoriented § Edgar cures Gloucester by making him think he survived jumping off Dover cliffs – reason to live o Torture duchess by exposing her to mad people – test her stamina to withstand o Performed madness • Set in Italy – less morally upright • Tragic form • Pg. 1581 (1.3)– Proposal scene o Brothers are leaving & set rules for Duchess to follow while they are gone, Bosola has been hired to spy o Metaphoric language – “into a wilderness” o Antonio is beneath Duchess in status o Proposal begins (line 110) § Antonio is stunned at what Duchess is offering a ring to him § Kneels out of shock, she lifts him up to be equal with her (line 123) o Cariola – hidden to be witness to the marriage, makes it legal § Soliloquy – pledged to keep the secret but knows it won’t turn out well • Bosola realizes Duchess is pregnant – audience knows more than Bosola, Duchess doesn’t realize how much Bosola knows • Pg.1601(3.2) – scene begins playful & turns sinister b/c of hidden character o In Duchess’ bedchamber, Ferdinand is hidden (no one knows) o Antonio & Duchess are very intimate o Antonio & Cariola play joke on Duchess by leaving the room so she would be talking to herself o Duchess completely gives herself away to Ferdinand o Historical case retold – Webster is the 1 to make the Duchess sympathetic § Heroic & noble tragic characters – admirable & strong o Reversal of fortune for Duchess o Ferdinand tells Duchess he will never see her again • Duchess has to cover for what Ferdinand heard o Sends Antonio & their oldest son away “for stealing” § Bosola can’t let on that he knows more • Pg.1612 (3.4) – Cardinal’s installment o Pulls ring off Duchess’ finger o Antonio, Duchess, & children are banished • Pg.1618 (4.1) – Ferdinand comes to see Duchess in the dark o Gives her a dead man’s hand to touch – makes her think it could be Antonio’s o Tortures Duchess – wants her to think Antonio & children are dead § She’s not told until she’s on her dying breath that they are alive • Act 4, scene 2 o Ethos – present madness on stage – spectacle § Release madmen on Duchess o Bosola has agreement with Ferdinand - disguises himself to kill Duchess § Brings in tomb & executioners, kills Cariola & children too § Cariola – contrast to Duchess – fought death, made excuses o Ferdinand admits that he & Duchess are twins § Regrets everything & tells Bosola that he never ordered Duchess dead & refuses to pay Bosola • Bosola – secondary tragic character o Pg.1629 – soliloquy o Tries to offer Duchess hope in her death pg.1629 o Wants revenge for what he has to do • Doctor Scene o Ferdinand has gone mad o Light entertainment – Doctor thinks he can heal Ferdinand by scaring him • Act 5, scene 2 – hidden character o Pg.1634 – Julia is Cardinal’s mistress, but is attracted to Bosola o Cardinal tells Bosola to kill Antonio – he must not know that Duchess is dead o Bosola is there to get info from the Cardinals o Julia puts Bosola in her cabinet to hide him from Cardinal o Julia knows too much, Cardinal makes her pledge secrecy & kiss a book he has painted with poison – he doesn’t trust her o Cardinal thinks he killed the only person who knows anything § Bosola reveals himself – plays that he is still on the Cardinal’s side o Bosola’s soliloquy – discomfort of being haunted by Duchess’ death • Act 5, scene 3 – Echo scene o Echo is counter, haunting, slightly changes Antonio’s phrases • Act 5, scene 4 – Chaos o Cardinal sends people away b/c Ferdinand is sick o Pescara, Malateste, & Roderigo - sent away & think it’s a joke when the Cardinal calls for help o Bosola stabs Antonio in the dark – calamity § Convenient accident, bleak ending of tragedy § Determined revenge – this was mistake o Ferdiand stabs Cardinal, Bosola kills Cardinal o Delio – Antonio’s right hand man, ends the play § Guardian to Antonio’s estate & Duchess/Brother’s Kingdom, & Antonio’s son


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