The Duchess Of Malfi Power Analysis

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The Desire For Power Controls The Individual The theme of power is pervasive throughout William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi. The desire for power is manifested through the different power struggles within both plays that clearly illustrate the chaos and instability that an individual’s desire for power brings about. Although The Tempest and The Duchess of Malfi have very different endings where the first play ends on a positive note and the latter ends in tragedy, together, the endings convey how allowing oneself to be utterly consumed by one’s desire for power leads to disastrous consequences. Hence, the desire for power eventually controls the individual, irreparably corrupting them, physically and psychologically. The desire for power is presented as a gateway to evil and mayhem in both The Tempest and The Duchess of Malfi. The characters’ desire for power spark a chain reaction of issues ranging from chaos, revenge, violence and political instability. While the diction used in Shakespeare’s play’s title, The Tempest,…show more content…
This is well illustrated in The Duchess of Malfi through the use of the imagery of a “common fountain” that has been “poison’t near the head” (Webster 9). This imagery is used as a metaphor for corruption amongst leaders, who in this case are Ferdinand and the Cardinal. Since they are leaders within the political and religious sectors, respectively, their impact of their corruption is bound to bring misfortune and chaos to those around them, just as a “fountain” that has been “poison’t near the head” (Webster 9). The effect of their desire for power on themselves and others is evident in the play’s tragic end. This imagery is also reflective of the situation in The Tempest since Prospero has revealed that his intentions for revenge are due to the loss of his dukedom. This forms yet another parallel between the two

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