The Duchess Of Malfi, By William Shakespeare

1161 Words Sep 25th, 2014 5 Pages
In Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, the forces of good and evil seem to be constantly at war. From the beginning of Act I to the end of Act V, the audience witnesses these two elements struggle against one another through each character’s actions or intentions as well as through various points of imagery. Despite the fact that the Duchess is murdered at the end of Act IV, Act V reveals that even in times of immense tragedy and evil-doing, good ultimately conquers all. Evil is easily sighted in the beginning of the play when first meeting the characters of Ferdinand and the Cardinal. Bosola, in Webster’s play, offers an initial description of the brothers with a vivid simile: “He and his brother are like plum trees that grow crooked over standing pools; they are rich and o’erladen with fruit, but none but crows, pies, and caterpillars feed on them.” (1.1.46-48). This figure of speech reveals several traits the two brothers undoubtedly possess. First, Bosola discloses the men have great wealth and status in society – they have much to give. Yet, by using the word “crooked,” he immediately exposes that the two perpetuate some degree of evil either through their intentions or their actions. The latter part of the quote indicates their evil nature, which is why only dark symbols of nature seem to “feed on them.” Though Bosola’s remark hints at the darkness within Ferdinand and the Cardinal, it seems to become a severe understatement after finding out the incredible evil they are…
Open Document