The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster

The Duchess of Malfi book cover
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Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi explores the issue of female agency vis a vis the Duchess’ symbolic identity. How is the Duchess' personality defined by the others around her?

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The Duchess stands out in this play as a contrast to practically all the other characters. She is the only true strong, independent personality. She remains true to her own ideals and dies with her sense of identity still intact. The other characters act from lust, envy, fear and hatred and are revealed as being essentially weak and/or confused; the Cardinal cries out for help as he is killed,...

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