• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critical opinion about the ways Webster presents the Duchess is divided. Some critics blame her for being irresponsible, bold and too passionate. Others praise her for her courage in fighting against tyrannical authority.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Critical opinion about the ways Webster presents the Duchess is divided. Some critics blame her for being irresponsible, bold and too passionate. Others praise her for her courage in fighting against tyrannical authority. Consider these two opinions in the light of your study of the play. What do you think of Webster's Duchess? In good pieces of literature such as Webster's Duchess of Malfi, an intriguing and captivating character should always have two sides, and with such a complex character critical opinion will always be divided. In this essay I will assess ways in which the character of the Duchess causes conflict in opinion, and show my opinion as to whether she is courageous or perhaps irresponsible. During the course of the play, the Duchess can be seen to commit a lot of irresponsible actions, ones, some might say eventually cause her own downfall and some what tragically, her death. ...read more.

Middle

Some critics would argue whether being too passionate was a flaw to the Duchess' character, yes passion and love is an important emotion to have, however the Duchess is often too passionate and in being this way she shows no awareness to other people and to the society she lives in. Her passion for Antonio causes her to neglect the rules of the 17th century society she lives in. It is ignoring these rules which cause her brothers anger, when she marries a man beneath her, which in turn leads to her death. Although there are some negative opinions about the Duchess, others would argue that she is an extremely courageous woman to fight against the tyrannical authority that faces her. She goes against her brother's even though she must realise what they are capable of doing to her. She shows courage in proposing to Antonio, she knows this relationship is against the order of society but for her, love prevails above anything else. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is courageous in her boldness and in her passion hence the Duchess is a character to be admired and respected. Webster uses the Duchess of Malfi, a historical figure, to highlight the problems and orders of the society. I believe the Duchess illuminates that there is goodness in the society and this was Webster's point in creating her. Webster's play hence is a statement against the society at the time, however the Duchess doesn't survive the society, therefore I think Webster is trying to point out that the corruption that occurs in such a society has to end before more innocent lives are tragically ended. In conclusion although opinion about Webster's Duchess of Malfi is critically divided, I would sooner praise her for her courage in fighting against tyrannical authority rather than blame her for her own death due to being irresponsible, bold and too passionate. I think Webster created his Duchess in order to show that the Jacobean society they lived in was corrupt and it takes a strong person like the Duchess of Malfi to stand dignified within it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level John Webster section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level John Webster essays

  1. How and where does the Duchess distinguish herself as a very remarkable woman in ...

    thinking of the consequences but the audience is shown that, in fact, she is very aware of what she has done. Antonio's warning, "He's a fool that, being a-cold, would thrust his hands i'th' fire to warm them" is a reminder that she has set the ball rolling and that

  2. Explore the ways in which Webster introduces his characters and themes in the play ...

    of the fate that happens when malign figures wrest control of the state. The idea of these corruptions "spread(ing)" throughout Malfi suggests that it acts similar to a cancer, where one cell of disease can cause the failing of the whole.

  1. The Duchess Of Malfi - Commentary On Important Scenes

    are kind to young / Faithful / Peaceful Act IV, Scene I Grotesque - Typical of Jacobean Tragegy, the play uses effects such as the severed hand and wax corpses (Inspired by Roman plays of Seneca) Webster - More than horror and sensationalism (Ferdinand desires to punish his sister / control his sister / control her body and soul)

  2. John Webster - Theatrical Language

    * Machiavellian ambition - Represented by Bosola and Ferdinand. Fascinated the English after the Prince Machiavelli's political instruction in duplicity. * Siblings - Spanish rulers, ruling parts of divided Italy - Can represent and exploit the xenophobic fears of Renaissance Italy and its murderous corruption.

  1. What impression does Webster create of courtly life in Malfi? How would a contemporary ...

    and Antonio similarly suggests that Bosola's anger stems not from a sense of honour, but from his envy of the court. ' I observe his railing Is not for simple love of piety: Indeed he rails at those things which he wants; Would be as lecherous, covetous, or proud, b****y,

  2. Examine the ways in which the political and familial contexts and relationships are established ...

    he 'would not be seen in't', demonstrating his apparent control even over his own brother, the Duke of Malfi. His power is paralleled with his astuteness, as Ferdinand suggests Antonio instead of Bosola for the job and the Cardinal correctly observes 'His nature is too honest' showing his ability to read people making him all the more powerful.

  1. "Whether the spirit of greatness or woman reigns most in her, I know not, ...

    She allows her passions to overthrow rationality, something a male protagonist would typically not do, in fact it was thought that women were often irrational and did not have the same power of

  2. Referring to Act 3, Scene 2, lines 88 to 140, Discuss the ways is ...

    In response to the Duchess's remarriage he also treats her with continued scorn and violent behaviour. Evidence supports the idea that Webster would like his audience to view Ferdinand's rage against his sister's re-marriage stemming from a feeling of incest, that even he himself may not recognise.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work