Act 1, Scene 1: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where was Antonio before he returned to Ferdinand’s court?

2. Why does Bosola agree to serve Ferdinand as intelligencer?

3. What does Antonio call Bosola?

4. What does the Cardinal ask Bosola?

5. How long did Bosola spend in prison?

1. Antonio was in France.

2. Ferdinand has procured him the provisorship of the Duchess’s horse. Bosola’s gratitude, therefore, requires him to serve Ferdinand as intelligencer.

3. Antonio calls Bosola “the only court-gall” in Ferdinand’s court.

4. The Cardinal asks Bosola to “become honest.”

5. Seven years.

Act 1, Scene 2: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Castruchio say about rulers serving as soldiers?

2. How does Antonio describe the Cardinal?

3. What is the significance of Antonio’s release from the Quietus est?

4. What does Bosola call an intelligencer?

5. What is the Duchess’s objection to the speech between Ferdinand and the Cardinal?

1. Castruchio says that it is ill-advised, that “that realm is never long in quiet, where the ruler is a soldier.”

2. Antonio describes the Cardinal as “a melancholy churchman” who plots against those he is jealous of and who lost the Papacy by bestowing egregious bribes.

3. Antonio's release from the Quietus est frees him from being in the Duchess’s debt by testifying that his accounts are correct.

4. Bosola calls an intelligencer a “very quaint invisible devil in flesh.”

5. The Duchess suspects that the speech was practiced beforehand because “it came so roundly off.”

Act 2, Scenes 1-2: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Bosola suspect the Duchess is pregnant?

2. What is Delio’s advice for Antonio after the Duchess falls ill?

3. What does Bosola say is the sure way to know that you are an eminent courtier?

4. What does Bosola say caused his apricots to ripen quickly?

5. What does Bosola say about princes?

1. The Duchess throws up, has an upset stomach, and “wears a loose-bodied gown.”

2. Delio advises that he “make use then of this forc’d occasion” to keep the Duchess concealed and let her give birth secretly.

3. Bosola says to spread the rumor that you are dying, and after doing so, hear that “the common people curse you.”

4. The apricots were fertilized with horse-dung.

5. Bosola says that princes are motivated by “the like passions” as commoners.

Ace 2, Scenes 3-5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What excuse did Julia give to make her trip to Rome?

2. What does Ferdinand fear he will see the Duchess do?

3. Why does Bosola pray at night?

4. In what month and year was the Duchess’s oldest son born?

5. Why has Delio brought Julia gold?

1. Julia told Castruchio she “came to visit an old anchorite here, for devotion.”

2. Ferdinand fears he will “see her in the shameful act of sin.”

3. Since the court is asleep at night, Bosola “thought the devil has least to do.”

4. The Duchess's son was born in December, 1504.

5. The reasons for Delio bringing Julia gold remain unclear throughout the play.

Act 3, Scenes 1-2: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does the Duchess think of Malateste?

2. What is Ferdinand’s opinion of astrology and magic?

3. Why do “hard favour’d ladies” generally keep “worse-favour’d waiting-women,” rather than fair ones?

4. What is Cariola’s opinion of the Duchess’s faked pilgrimage to Loretto?

5. What does Bosola say has raised Antonio?

1. The Duchess calls him “a mere stick of sugar candy,” and she will not marry him.

2. Astrology and magic are “mere gulleries, horrid things invented by some cheating mountebanks to abuse us,” according to Ferdinand.

3. Doing so keeps the...

(The entire section is 127 words.)

Act 3, Scenes 3-5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is Ferdinand’s criticism of Antonio?

2. What is the reason for the seizure of the Duchess’s dukedom?

3. What does Antonio say is the result of human endeavors?

4. What will the Duchess teach her children?

5. How does Antonio interpret the Duchess’s dream in which the diamonds on her coronet of state “were chang’d to pearls”?

1. Ferdinand calls Antonio “a slave” who never “look’d like a gentleman but in the audit time.”

2. The Cardinal instigated the Pope to make the seizure.

3. Antonio says that human endeavors “bring ourselves to nothing.”


(The entire section is 120 words.)

Act 4, Scene 1: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is the Duchess’s response to her imprisonment?

2. Why does Ferdinand show the Duchess figures of Antonio and their children?

3. Why does the Duchess plan to starve herself to death?

4. Who made the figures of Antonio and their children?

5. Why does Ferdinand plan to put madmen near the Duchess’ lodging?

1. The Duchess bears her imprisonment “nobly.”

2. Ferdinand does this to bring the Duchess despair.

3. The Duchess wants to die, and “the Church enjoins fasting.”

4. Vincentio Lauriola made the figures.

5. Ferdinand wants to make the...

(The entire section is 90 words.)

Act 4, Scene 2: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who does the Duchess compare herself to?

2. What is Bosola’s trade?

3. What is the Duchess’s attitude toward her imminent death?

4. Who does Ferdinand blame for the Duchess’s death?

5. Who does Bosola plan to give the Duchess’s body to?

1. The Duchess compares herself to the “robin red-breast and the nightingale.”

2. Bosola's trade is to “flatter the dead, not the living.”

3. The Duchess does not fear her own death, and in fact welcomes it as she seeks to enter heaven by being executed.

4. Ferdinand blames Bosola.

5. Bosola plans to give...

(The entire section is 103 words.)

Act 5, Scene 1: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Pescara refuse to give Delio any of Antonio’s land?

2. What does Delio think of the prospect of Antonio’s reconcilement to Ferdinand and the Cardinal?

3. Why does Delio ask Pescara for some of Antonio’s land?

4. What does Pescara say is wrong with Ferdinand?

5. What does Antonio call Delio?

1. The land was illicitly taken, so it would be wrong to give it to anyone but a strumpet.

2. Delio doubts that there can be a reconcilement, and he believes they have instead set nets to trap Antonio in Milan.

3. Delio asks for the land in order to find out who the land was...

(The entire section is 132 words.)

Act 5, Scenes 2: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does the Cardinal kill Julia?

2. What does Bosola consider doing with Antonio?

3. Why does Bosola say he has come to the Cardinal?

4. How does Ferdinand justify his solitude?

5. What will Bosola do if the Cardinal falls out of favor?

1. The Cardinal forces Julia to kiss a poisoned Bible.

2. Bosola considers joining Antonio “in a most just revenge.”

3. Bosola has come to the Cardinal in order to find a great man who is “not out of his wits” and can remember Bosola’s services.

4. Ferdinand considers himself to be like an eagle, who flies alone, while...

(The entire section is 123 words.)

Act 5, Scene 3-5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Antonio resolve to do while he is by the Duchess’s grave?

2. Why don’t the Cardinal’s guests come to his aid as he’s attacked by Bosola?

3. What does Antonio say about churches and cities?

4. Why does Bosola kill Antonio?

5. What does Delio hope to do for the Duchess’s oldest son?

1. Antonio resolves to leave “this ague” and “not henceforth save myself by halves; lose all, or nothing.”

2. The Cardinal has told his guests not to disturb Ferdinand or himself posing as Ferdinand.

3. Antonio says that churches and cities have the same diseases men have,...

(The entire section is 137 words.)