What Do I Read Next?
- The White Devil, published in 1612, is Webster's other well-known play. Like The Duchess of Malfi, it is based on a true story of Italian nobles. Using elements of the revenge tragedy, it depicts diabolical brothers punishing and avenging their sisters.
- William Shakespeare's great tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (c. 1601) is arguably his most famous play. Although it ends, like The Duchess of Malfi, with dead bodies strewn across the stage, its focus is on the philosophical and psychological development of the title character.
- Titus Andronicus (c. 1590), another Shakespeare play, more closely resembles The Duchess of Malfi in its horrific violence. Seldom performed, it has a cycle of vengeance that includes murder, rape, the cutting off of a character's tongue and hands, and the baking of murdered children into a pie that is served to their mother.
- A good introduction to the period in which The Duchess of Malfi is set is J. H. Plumb's The Italian Renaissance, published in a revised edition in 2001. The first half of the book is a historical overview of the economic and social conditions that led to the Renaissance; the second half includes brief biographies of important figures by different scholars.