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Bosola ferdinand encounter of the duchess of malfi

A marquispossibly Fernando d'Avalos. The protagonist, sister to Ferdinand and the Cardinal. At the beginning she is a widow whose brothers take every precaution to keep her from marriage, though later she secretly marries Antonio. Due to the marriage, her brothers arrange to have her strangled. She is described as having a sweet countenance and noble virtue, unlike her brothers.

Bosola ferdinand encounter of the duchess of malfi has three children, two sons and a daughter by Antonio. There is an inconsistency surrounding earlier children by her deceased husband, put down to a careless mistake by Webster.

Based on Giovanna d'Aragona, Duchess of Amalfi. Duchess's waiting-woman and privy to her secrets. She witnesses the Duchess's wedding and delivers her children.

She dies tragically by strangling following the murder of the Duchess and the youngest children. Her name plays on the Italian carriolo, meaning "trundle-bed", where personal servants would have slept. Castruchio's wife and the Cardinal's mistress. She dies at the Cardinal's hands from a poisoned Bible. A hanger-on at the Cardinal's court. The name means 'headache'. Referred to as a "mere stick of sugar candy" by the Duchess, he is yet another interchangeable courtier conveying the sycophantic court.

Sent for to diagnose Ferdinand's madness and his supposed " lycanthropia ". There is also a variety of minor roles including couriers, servants, officers, a mistress, the children, executioners, etc. They further the plot or perform small tasks that cannot be accomplished by the principals. Bandello had known Antonio Beccadelli di Bologna in Milan before his assassination.

He recounted the story of Antonio's secret marriage to Giovanna after death of her first husband, stating that it brought down the wrath of her two brothers, one of whom, Luigi d'Aragonawas a powerful cardinal under Pope Julius II.

Bandello says that the brothers arranged the kidnapping of the Duchess, her maid, and two of her three children by Antonio, all of whom were then murdered. Antonio, unaware of their fate, escaped to Milan with his oldest son, where he was later assassinated by a gang led by one Daniele Bozzolo. Main themes[ edit ] This section may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standardsas it is too miscellaneous and conflates criticism and interpretation with thematic material.

The discussion page may contain suggestions. October 2013 The main themes of the play are: This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. April 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message A vein of corruption runs throughout the play, notably in the character of the deadly Cardinal, a man ready to employ lesser beings such as Bosola to commit murders for him, then cast them aside as rotten fruit.

He is no stranger to murder himself, however, as he slays his own mistress by making her kiss a poisoned book.

  • Giving him a master key, the Cardinal takes his leave;
  • The Cardinal confesses his part in the killing of the Duchess to his mistress, Julia, then murders her with a poisoned Bible.

Antonio describes him thus: The spring in his face is nothing but the engend'ring of toads; where he is jealous of any man, he lays worse plot for them than ever was impos'd on Hercules, for he strews in his way flatterers, panders, intelligencers, atheists, and a thousand such political monsters.

He should have been Pope; but instead of coming to it by the primitive decency of the church, he did bestow bribes so largely and so impudently as if he would have carried it away without heaven's knowledge. Some good he hath done. The Cardinal gambles, keeps the wife of one of his courtiers as a mistress, and fights duels. Conspiracy and intrigue are the air he breathes. Duke Ferdinand is his brother's willing conspirator in villainy, and at times his rages shock even the Cardinal's sense of decorum.

The Duke's corruption in the end destroys his sanity: Realizing she has married and borne children by Antonio, his rage drives him to do everything in his power to bring his sister to despair, madness and death, but in the end he is driven mad himself. These two perverse villains destroy or poison all that is within their reach, all semblance of warmth or human affection.

Abuse of power[ edit ] The brothers repeatedly abuse their power. Ferdinand is caught committing adultery but is not punished. The Cardinal abuses his ecclesiastical powers to have Antonio's property confiscated and to have the Duchess and her family banished from the state of Ancona. Ferdinand and the Cardinal order the death of the Duchess without any proper judgement passed by a court of law. April 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message The ideal quality her brothers would foist on the Duchess is that of being submissive to their male control, though ironically widowhood was often the first time women might be independent of the control of husbands or male relatives.

However, the Duchess went against her brothers' wishes and remarried. Her assertion of her freedom of choice is best illustrated in her soliloquy following her conversation with her brothers when they strictly advise her to not even think about remarrying. Immediately after telling her brothers that she will never remarry, she says to herself: Throughout, she refuses to submit to her brothers' attempts at control and even asserts her identity and self-control at the moment of her death, announcing "I am Duchess of Malfi still" 4.

This is compelled through the Duchess's speech and actions. The brothers often try to manipulate her and drive her mad. This cruelty is first evident when the Cardinal and Ferdinand lock the Duchess in her own home. Ferdinand deceives the Duchess into thinking that he cares: In the darkness, the Duchess thinks that Ferdinand is asking for her forgiveness when he reaches out his hand, and so she kisses it; when the lights come on she sees the dead bodies of her husband and children, and believes she just kissed her husband's severed hand.

But in reality, Ferdinand used wax figures to trick her into thinking her family is dead. This deception and cruelty cause the Duchess physical and emotional torment throughout the play. At the end of the play, the Duchess is strangled at the request of her brothers. At the time, Italy was moving into capitalism and one no longer needed to be born into wealth to obtain it. Ferdinand is particularly obsessed with the idea of inheriting the fortune to which his sister is entitled, because it bosola ferdinand encounter of the duchess of malfi protect his social and financial status.

Ultimately the Duchess is put to death for remarrying into a lower class. Objectification[ edit ] The Duchess is often criticized[ by whom? As a widow, the Duchess gains a new power and independence, which angers her brothers. The Cardinal and Ferdinand are in line to receive the inheritance if bosola ferdinand encounter of the duchess of malfi Duchess does not have any children, so controlling her sexual affairs becomes their singular focus.

Rather than respecting her autonomy and wishes, they aim to control her sexuality and diminish her independence. He is solely focused on preserving her chastity, so he views her as an object, rather than a human being.

Act III, Scene IV is a mime scene in which a song is sung in honour of the Cardinal who gives up his robes and invests himself with the attire of a soldier and then does the act of banishing the Duchess.

The whole scene is commented upon by two pilgrims who condemn the harsh behaviour of the Cardinal toward the Duchess. That the scene is set against the backdrop of the Shrine of Our Lady of Loretto, a religious place, adds to its sharp distinction between good and evil, and justice and injustice.

Act V, Scene iii, features an important theatrical device, echo which seems to emanate from the grave of the Duchess and is also in her voice. Combined together it reads: A thing of sorrow. That suits it best. Be mindful of thy safety. O fly your fate. Thou art a dead thing.

How Does Webster Reframe Concepts of Gender?

Never see her more. It adds to the feeling of inevitability of Antonio's death while highlighting the role of fate. Plot synopsis[ edit ] The play is set in the court of Malfi AmalfiItaly, from 1504 to 1510.

The recently widowed Duchess falls in love with Antonio, a lowly steward. Her brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, forbid her from remarrying, seeking to defend their inheritance and desperate to evade a degrading association with their social inferiors. Suspicious of her, they hire Bosola to spy on her. She elopes with Antonio and bears him three children secretly. Bosola eventually discovers that the Duchess is pregnant but does not know who the father is.

Ferdinand, who is a lunatic and incestuous brother, threatens and disowns the Duchess. In an attempt to escape, she and Antonio concoct a history that Antonio has swindled her out of her fortune and must flee into exile. The Duchess takes Bosola into her confidence, unaware that he is Ferdinand's spy, and arranges for him to deliver her jewellery to Antonio at his hiding-place in Ancona.

She will join them later, while pretending to make a pilgrimage to a nearby town.

John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

The Cardinal hears of the plan, instructs Bosola to banish the two lovers, and sends soldiers to capture them. Antonio escapes with their eldest son, but the Duchess, her maid, and her two younger children are returned to Malfi and die at the hands of Bosola's executioners, who are under Ferdinand's orders. This experience, combined with a long-standing sense of injustice and lacking personal identity, leads Bosola to turn against the brothers, and he decides to take up the cause of "Revenge for the Duchess of Malfi" V.

The Cardinal confesses his part in the killing of the Duchess to his mistress, Julia, then murders her with a poisoned Bible. Bosola overhears the Cardinal plotting to kill him though he accepts that he would earn this punishment for his actionsand so visits the darkened chapel to kill the Cardinal at his prayers. Instead, he mistakenly kills Antonio, who has just returned to Malfi to attempt a reconciliation with the Cardinal.

Bosola then stabs the Cardinal, who dies. In the brawl that follows, Ferdinand and Bosola stab each other to death. Antonio's elder son by the Duchess appears in the final scene and takes his place as the heir to the Malfi fortune, which is controversial because there is reason to believe he isn't the actual eldest son of the Duchess. The play briefly mentions her previous son, who is the product of her previous marriage with her deceased husband, [12] though some scholars believe this is just a textual error.