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Can "The Duchess of Malfi" be called a revenge tragedy?It looks as if Ferdinand and the...

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bhawanipur | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted November 23, 2011 at 9:52 AM via web

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Can "The Duchess of Malfi" be called a revenge tragedy?

It looks as if Ferdinand and the Cardinal took revenge on the duchess.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 23, 2011 at 4:10 PM (Answer #1)

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The revenge tragedy is a genre that was common in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. It was modelled primarily on Seneca's tragedies, especially the Medea. The earliest work of the genre is usually held to be Kyd's Spanish Tragedy, but there are many other examples, including The Revenger's Tragedy, Webster's The White Devil (1612) and The Duchess of Malfi (1614),  and Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, and, of course Hamlet.

These tragedies are normally centered on a protagonist who has been wronged and is seeking revenge in an obsessive manner. They usually feature intense melodrama and violence, moral corruption, and a sort of blank verse with many metrical variations.  They are often set in Italy.




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