The Duchess Of Malfi Tragedy Analysis

1854 Words8 Pages
Sr. Deena David 17/PELA/035 Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi as a Revenge Tragedy The death of Queen Elizabeth and the accession of King James I in the early 17th century marked an era of transition in the political as well as the literary and artistic arena of England. The literature of this period represents “the disillusionment that spread through political and social life” (Fermor 2) and portrays the people as “the inheritors of poverty of spirit” (2). Revenge tragedies, which were based on the Senecan model, became a popular subgenre during the period. As Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, gained popularity, many writers during the period looked up to it as the prototype of English revenge play. The theme of revenge differentiates this kind…show more content…
The revenge must be the cause of the catastrophe, and its start must not be delayed beyond the crisis. ‘Revenge tragedy’ customarily portrays the ghosts of the murdered urging revenge, a hesitation on the part of the avenger, a delay in proceeding to his vengeance, and his feigned or actual madness. (63-64) A typical Jacobean Revenge tragedy contains the following conventions: the play should be composed of five acts and should have Italianate or Southern European settings and a Machiavellian villain. The play must have a strong revenge motive like that of Fransisco in The White Devil. The avenger must be moved by a sense of sacred duty and not out of any passion, greed or hatred for some personal injury like in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. By the end of the play, there should be many corpses on the stage. The narrative should involve complex plotting. The story should revolve around characters of noble birth. The narrative should incorporate ghosts, skulls and madness. Lust should be a strong motive. The plot should use poisoning and torture; dumb-show, disguise and soliloquies. Order should finally be restored at the end of the

More about The Duchess Of Malfi Tragedy Analysis

Open Document