William Shakespeare 's The Duchess Of Malfi

1642 Words Nov 15th, 2015 7 Pages
John Webster’s play The Duchess of Malfi is a Renaissance tragedy. Threats lurk the widowed Duchess and her forbidden husband Antonio. The Duchess’s power greedy brothers, Ferdinand and The Cardinal forbid her sister to remarry. The play is an unconventional Renaissance tragedy as the protagonist focuses on a female character rather than a male. (Pacheco, 2012, p69) This essay focuses on Webster’s use of distinctive features of language.
This passage is important because it displays the violent and tragic scene of the Duchess’s execution and torture. The scene occurs after the Duchess encounters a theatrical spectacle delivered by her brother Ferdinand, as his way of punishing and torturing her (Pacheco, 2012, p169) The dramatic function this serves is that it reveals a violent and painful death to the audience, made all the more shocking and tragic with her welcoming death and believing, ‘to meet such excellent company/In th’ other world.’ (Webster, 2004, p159) Webster employs dramatic irony at this point as she thinks Antonio is dead and the audience know this is an act of torture and so this illustrates the tragedy of the situation.
The extract starts with the Duchess calming Cariola after it is revealed that the Duchess will be killed and she says, ‘Peace, it affrights not me.’ (Webster, 2004, p155) Her response is shocking as death does not ‘affright’ (Webster, 2012, p155) her and she is attempting to put Cariola’s mind at ‘peace’(Webster, 2004, p155) rather than…
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