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Referring to Act 3, Scene 2, lines 88 to 140, Discuss the ways is which Webster reveals the nature of the relationship between the Duchess and Ferdinand at this point in the play. Analyse the language and Imagery used.

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Referring to Act 3, Scene 2, lines 88 to 140, Discuss the ways is which Webster reveals the nature of the relationship between the Duchess and Ferdinand at this point in the play. Analyse the language and Imagery used. Webster's The Duchess of Malfi may be an Elizabethan tragedy, but it is also a psychological horror story involving the corrupt relationship between the anguished Ferdinand and his sister. During lines 88 to 140 in Act 3, Scene 2 aspects of the Duchess and Ferdinand's characteristics become evident, giving the audience a clear insight into the relationship Webster wished to portray. Ferdinand desires to control his sister, but his wish seem somewhat futile, as she has been married before and thus gained her powerful status. Ferdinand's intensions towards his sister have been the source of much conjecture between critics and the nature of their relationship is one to be explored in great depth. ...read more.


Throughout the play, the Duchess is a contrast to Ferdinand's evil nature, as she shuns the dark that her brother operates around her. In Webster's time most widows did not remarry, but through the Duchess he shows a strong and wilful character, that doesn't want to be hindered by her brother's words or conduct. The Duchess in nobly enduring all his cruel torments becomes a 'reverend monument whose ruins are even pitied'. Yet to a certain extent, while we pity the Duchess, it cannot be denied that one feels a great admiration for her strength of character. She accepts suffering as her 'fate' and is 'acquainted with sad misery as the tanned slave is with his oar'. The relationship between the Duchess and Ferdinand is publicized to the audience, purposely through Act 3, Scene 2. The animal imagery used by Ferdinand of a "howling wolf" implies that he pines after the Duchess, complimented by the sexual imagery that he also incorporates "Thou art undone". ...read more.


Webster uses the nature of the relationship between Ferdinand and his sister to emphasise the corruption of the Italian court and specifically Rome. Webster indicates how the court has become a centre of Catholic corruption, as Ferdinand's obsession to 'purge infected blood' seems less a move to right a wrong than out of jealousy "my imagination carrys me to see her in the shameful act of sin". Webster does not fully reveal the relationship between the Duchess and Ferdinand, but enough to make the audience question Ferdinand's motives and actions towards the Duchess. It is fair to say that the relationship between the Duchess and Ferdinand that Webster reveals, especially in Act 3, Scene 2, illustrates the unique and strong feminine qualities the Duchess retains throughout the play "I am the Duchess of Malfi still". The language and imagery that Webster uses throughout Act 3, Scene 2, supports the nature of the perplexed relationship, which many believe to be the most contentious relationship of the play. ...read more.

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