The Duchess of Malfi Questions and Answers
by John Webster

The Duchess of Malfi book cover
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Which characters stray from blank verse in The Duchess of Malfi, and when do they do it?

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While The Duchess of Malfi uses a somewhat looser form of blank verse (some shorter or longer lines), Webster's play largely stays in verse. Like other Early Modern dramatists, he follows the convention of using blank verse for high born characters and elevated speech, giving a sort of majesty to the music of the speech.

In Act 2, Bosolo speaks in prose in the first scene. This discourse with Castrucdo and the Old Lady is conspiratorial, and the characters are coarser individuals engaged in secretive discussion of common things. Bosola...

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