An Analysis of Bosola in 'the Duchess of Malfi' Essay

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Bosola can be described as a convincing character as unlike some of the characters in the play, his opinions and principles change throughout, therefore constantly altering the audience's feelings about him. He is the only character to communicate to the audience via soliloquy, divulging his true thoughts and intentions which often differ from his outward appearance, making him psychologically realistic and interesting. Although this would suggest he is a convincing character, Bosola, at times, falls into set roles of the Jacobean Tragedy; malcontent, satirist and avenger. Webster uses Bosola to fulfill these conventions of the genre and to direct and drive the plot, especially after the Duchess' death. Even though Webster uses Bosola in…show more content…
One of the interesting aspects of the play is that it goes beyond the boundaries of its set time, giving its characters a past as well as a present. The audience learns straight away that Bosola was in prison, hinting at previous experiences shaping his hatred for the Aragon brothers, `I fell into the galleys in your service'. Bosola exists outside the play's timeframe, making him more convincing. All through the play, small references to Bosola's past are made, `I knew him in Padua, a fantastical scholar'; he is not confined to the play, therefore he is more convincing as a character.

As a spy, Bosola most frequently uses asides of all the characters. The audience is given an insight into his mind so they can differentiate from what his true intentions are and the lies he tells the other characters. This used is particularly in act 2 scene 1, where Bosola is trying to find out if the Duchess is pregnant or not by giving her apricots, `[aside]-how greedily she eats them'. This makes his character more convincing to the audience as they can see the complex workings of his and how he is not always as he appears to the other characters.

Throughout the play, Webster frequently reminds us that the world of the characters is not real; it is contrived and can therefore be manipulated by the playwright, `I think this speech between you both was studied, it came so roundly off.' Webster never intended
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