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The Duchess of Malfi Essay Topics & Paper Examples

The Duchess of Malfi

The Tragedy of the Dutchesse of Malfy, originally published under this name in 1623, is a Jacobean drama written by John Webster in 1612-13. The play starts off as a love story with the Duchess secretly marrying the steward of the household Antonio; a man beneath her class who she has fallen in love with. This marriage immediately shows the Duchess’ “princely powers” by defying the wishes of her brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, to not marry again after being widowed. “The Duchess of Malfi is ostensibly a story of resistance of a wilful widow who actively defies her brothers’ wishes and refuses to be constrained by (male) authority” (Bartels 420). Webster portrays her brother Ferdinand’s power as a corrupted duplicate…