The Theme Of Forbidden In The Duchess Of Malfi

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Webster’s play The Duchess of Malfi is a tragedy about a forbidden love but more specifically a forbidden marriage, which leads to the deaths of the both the lovers and many other characters of the play. The theme of the forbidden is also portrayed through the Machiavellian qualities of certain characters as they lie and are deceitful. There is also the use of the motif of fruit which represents the forbidden. Lastly, the forbidden is shown using women. These are also shown in other pieces of literature, such as Paradise Lost, written by John Milton, however both writers portray the theme of forbidden in different ways.
The use of the fruit as a motive fit into the theme of the forbidden as the Duchess eats the apricots which forces her into pregnancy. In the quotation “How greedily she eats them!” with the use of the exclamatory sentence it suggests that the Duchess is enjoying the forbiddance within the fruit which ends up leading her to a big problem. It foreshadows the future events due to the fact that during the 16th century it was believed that apricots are what caused labour and this play supports this as the Duchess went into labour straight after eating the apricots. It shows that the Duchess wasn’t able to recognise the risk of the fruit, but the enjoyment of the fruit is what lead her to carry on eating. The Duchess seems to be chasing after the forbiddance within things and to explore them. However, this is what causes the death of others as she is wanted to

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