The Duchess of Malfi (The Revels Plays)
More widely studied and more frequently performed than ever before, John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi is here presented in an improved, accessible and throughly up-to-date edition. Starting with the authoritative Revels Plays edition of 1964, John Russell Brown has augmented the notes and collations, and casts new light on Webster's dramatic dialogue and on the stage a
So here's another thing I learned from Webster: I happened to read The Duchess of Malfi i ...more
This play, the finest Jacobean drama outside the Shakespeare canon, is not only a gem of poetry and wit, but also a meditation on the vanity of public life and the inevitability of death. The satiric prose is filled with such poetic imagery and the subtle verse is so sharp in its commentary that each individual use of language complements all the others.
The reader is surprised to find in such a merciless play so much goodness and such tender love scenes. Perhaps that is part of the reason why, ...more
"Black-birds fatten best in hard weather"
It’s a still-performed play in our days. Though its best place for representation had been, for long, the Blacks Friars Theater. According to scholar James Shapiro, it’s a “story of intrigue and murder”…”a bloody dark work”of 1623.
Webster surely based his story on a real one: the real Giovanna D’Aragona, who in 1493 married the regent, soon to die.She had two brothers.
Yet Giovanna had a secret marriage and two children concealed. By 1510 she was quite ...more
My God. My brain hurts.
MY ANGER HURTS.
**Also just a forerunner: Everything after this will be going full tilt into spoilers. So if you don't want to see them, skip ahead to where the bold asterisks mark the continuation spot please!**
I read this play and I sit there and I'm like:
NOTHING IS HAPPY. NOTHING. ALL OF IT IS BULL.
And no, seriously. It's all bull. The entire story is about a woman who has been recently widowed and her two high ranking br ...more
There is some problem with our not having a clean copy of the play. Even John Webste ...more
I have been curious about this play ever since I first read Agatha Christie's Sleeping Murder as a teenager. I knew very little about it other than what I gleaned from that reference... It is a tragedy very much in the style of Shakespeare's great tragedies, which is not surprising since Webster & Shakespeare were contemporaries, but without the 'comic ...more
Webster seemed to have very little notion of religion and none of ...more
Which way please them".
Hmmmm. This is an interesting play, and I have to admit, not my favourite. I have to study The Duchess as part of my Uni English course, and having read Othello immediately before it, I'm afraid I prefer the latter.
I'm not sure what it is about old-fashioned playwrights, but in both Othello and Duchess, women seem to die twice. In Othello, Desdemona miraculously survives a smothering, only to say a few words and d ...more
The plot is slightly crazy; with The Duchess' husband having just died and her brothers the Cardinal and Ferdinand both petitioning her to re-marry a certain type of man. However, the Duchess is in love with Antonio, one her servants. Ferdinand, the Duchess' twin (who has some *complicated* feelings towards his sister) hires Bosola to spy on the Duchess; and he discovers that not only has the Duchess secre ...more
It wasn't dreadful or bad in the least but I won't be reading it again. I feel like three stars is an educated rating for something like this due mainly to my indifference. But I'm well aware its mainly because I'm not a fan of reading plays, I much prefer to watch them be performed than have to analyse different ways the text can be performed. (Ian McKellen is in everything, isn't ...more
Duchess is widow, young and beautiful abandoned from marriage by her brothers. She marries her steward and murdered with husband and children, first herself, then children and in the end her husband. But her brothers were also killed by the villain, whom they choose to do all the evils.
All over tragedy and reality.
To be read only for text books, as one can not enjoy such things as tragedy that m ...more
The Duchess of Malfi summary: Widow marries man below her station. To exact their revenge, her brothers systematically destroy her life. Play ends with an obscenely high body count (because what says Elizabethan and Jacobean dra ...more
This time I read it for fun, and absorbed a lot more.
The challenge for any literature of this era is that one will inevitably compare it to Shakespeare and find it wanting. Even a play such as The Duchess of Malfi, which on its own is quite well written and well constructed, is plain a ...more
I really don't know why I loved this play so much since it was so dark and morbid and filled with murder. But it was also pretty funny. I couldn't help but love every word.