English Renaissance Tragedy The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster.
An in-depth analysis of this English Renaissance tragedy, the various factors involved which lead to the tragic ending and the struggle between good and evil.
In this paper the author examines the theme of tragedy that runs through this play. In so doing he looks at the primary relationships in the play – the relationship between the Cardinal, the Duchess and Ferdinand and the relationship between the Duchess and Antonio which he suggests is central to the play. He also suggests that the character of Bosola is an additional factor in the events that lead to the tragic end. The author examines each of these factors in turn, looking at the characters involved, their characteristics and the meaning of each factor and concludes by showing, not only how all these events led to the tragic ending, but also what meaning this has for the reader. From the paper:
“The central tragedy of the play is that of the Duchess. She is represented as a fine woman in terrible circumstances. Her tragic flaw is her need to follow her heart. She defies the reality of the situation and makes the decision to marry Antonio and ultimately suffers for this choice. The tragedy of the situation is that she does nothing wrong. Her relationship with Antonio is pure. Even with the tragedy that results, she accepts this as a consequence of loving Antonio and accepts her fate.”