THE DUCHESS OF MALFI PDF
The Duchess of Malfi. John Webster. Act I | Act II | Act III | Act IV | Act V. Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed by. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster. Adobe PDF icon. Download this document as myavr.info: File size: MB What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to.
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PR SMC THE TEMPLE Webster's DUCHESS OF MALFI The text adopted is that of Dyce. It has been carefully collated with the copy of the first. John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi. About this free course. This free course is an adapted extract from the Open University course A Reading and studying . Following Queen Elizabeth I's reign, the new court of King James was beset by political instability and moral corruption. This atmosphere provided fertile ground .
Believe my experience, that realm is never long in quiet where the ruler is a soldier. Thou toldest me thy wife could not endure fighting.
True, my lord. And of a jest she broke of a captain she met full of wounds: I have forgot it. She told him, my lord, he was a pitiful fellow, to lie, like the children of Ismael, all in tents.
Why, there's a wit were able to undo all the 5 ACT i. The Duchess of Malfi chirurgeons o' the city ; for although gallants should quarrel, and had drawn their weapons, and were ready to go to it, yet her persuasions would make them put up. That she would, my lord. How do you like my Spanish gennet? He is all fire. I am of Pliny's opinion, I think he was begot by the wind ; he runs as if he were ballassed with quicksilver.
True, my lord, he reels from the tilt often. Ha, ha, ha! Why do you laugh?
True, my lord: I myself have heard a very good jest, and have scorned to seem to have so silly a wit as to understand it. But I can laugh at your fool, my lord. He cannot speak, you know, but he makes faces: Nor endure to be in merry company ; for she says too much laughing, and too much company, fills her too full of the wrinkle.
I would, then, have a mathematical instrument made for herface, that she might not laugh out of com- pass. I shall shortly visit you at Milan, Lord Silvio. Your grace shall arrive most welcome. You are a good horseman, Antonio: Nobly, my lord: You have bespoke it worthily.
SiL Your brother, the lord cardinal, and sister duchess. Re-enter Cardinal, with Duchess, Cariola, and Julia. Are the galleys come about? They are, my lord. Here 's the Lord Silvio is come to take his leave. Now, sir, r your promise: I mean his temper? Some such flashes superficially hang on him for form ; but observe his inward character: He should 7 ACT i.
The Duchess of Malfi have been Pope ; but instead of coming to it by the! Some good he hath done Delio. You have given too much of him. What 's his brother? The duke there? In quality.
The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster
He speaks with others' tongues, and hears men's suits With others' ears ; will seem to sleep o' the bench Only to entrap offenders in their answers ; Dooms men to death by information ; Rewards by hearsay. Then the law to him Is like a foul, black cobweb to a spider, He makes it his dwelling and a prison To entangle those shall feed him. Most true: He never pays debts unless they be shrewd turns, And those he will confess that he doth owe.
Hang at his lips ; and verily I believe them, For the devil speaks in them. For her discourse, it is so full of rapture, You only will begin then to be sorry When she doth end her speech, and wish, in wonder, She held it less vain-glory to talk much, Than your penance to hear her: Her days are practis'd in such noble virtue, That sure her nights, nay, more, her very sleeps, Are more in heaven than other ladies' shrifts.
Let all sweet ladies break their flattering glasses, And dress themselves in her. Fie, Antonio, You play the wire-drawer with her commendations. I '11 case the picture up: You must attend my lady in the gallery, Some half an hour hence. The Duchess of Malfi Ant. Sister, I have a suit to you. To me, sir?
A gentleman here, Daniel de Bosola, One that was in the galleys Duck. Yes, I know him. A worthy fellow he is: Your knowledge of him Commends him and prefers him. Call him hither. We [are] now upon parting. Good Lord Silvio, Do us commend to all our noble friends At the leaguer. Sir, I shall. You are for Milan? Bring the caroches. We '11 bring you down to the haven. Be sure you entertain that Bosola For your intelligence: I would not be seen in 't ; And therefore many times I have slighted him When he did court our furtherance, as this morning.
Antonio, the great-master of her household, Had been far fitter. His nature is too honest for such business. He comes: I '11 leave you. Re-enter Bosola. I was lur'd to you. My brother, here, the cardinal could never Abide you. Never since he was in my debt. May be some oblique character in your face Made him suspect you.
Doth he study physiognomy? There 's no more credit to be given to the face Than to a sick man's urine, which some call The physician's whore because she cozens him. He did suspect me wrongfully. For that You must give great men leave to take their times. Distrust doth cause us seldom be deceiv'd: You see the oft shaking of the cedar-tree Fastens it more at root.
The Duchess of Malfi
Yet, take heed ; For to suspect a friend unworthily Instructs him the next way to suspect you, And prompts him to deceive you. There 's gold. What follows? The Duchess of Malfi Without thunderbolts i' the tail of them: Your inclination to shed blood rides post Before my occasion to use you.
I give you that To live i' the court here, and observe the duchess ; To note all the particulars of her haviour, What suitors do solicit her for marriage, And whom she best affects.
She 's a young widow: I would not have her marry again. No, sir? Do not you ask the reason ; but be satisfied. I say I would not. It seems you would create me One of your familiars. Why, a very quaint invisible devil in flesh, An intelligencer. Such a kind of thriving thing I would wish thee ; and ere long thou mayst arrive At a higher place by 't.
Take your devils, Which hell calls angels: Sir, I'll take nothing from you that I have given: This morning, the provisorship o' the horse ; Have you heard on 't? I would have you curse yourself now, that your bounty Which makes men truly noble e'er should make me A villain.
O, that to avoid ingratitude For the good deed you have done me, I must do All the ill man can invent! Thus the devil Candies all sins o'er ; and what heaven terms vile, That names he complimental. Be yourself; Keep your old garb of melancholy ; 'twill express You envy those that stand above your reach, Yet strive not to come near 'em: As I have seen some Feed in a lord's dish, half asleep, not seeming To listen to any talk ; and yet these rogues Have cut his throat in a dream.
What 's my place? The provisorship o' the horse? I am your creature. Let good men, for good deeds, covet good fame, Since place and riches oft are bribes of shame: Sometimes the devil doth preach.
We are to part from you; and your own dis- cretion Must now be your director. You are a widower You know already what man is ; and therefore Let not youth, high promotion, eloquence Card. No, Nor anything without the addition, honour, Sway your high blood. O, fie! Their livers are more spotted Than Laban's sheep.
The Duchess of Malfi | Study Guide
Diamonds are of most value, They say, that have pass'd through most jewellers' hands. Whores by that rule are precious. Will you hear me? I '11 never marry. So most widows say ; But commonly that motion lasts no longer Than the turning of an hour-glass: Now hear me: You live in a rank pasture, here, i' the court ; There is a kind of honey-dew that 's deadly ; 'Twill poison your fame ; look to 't: This is terrible good counsel. Hypocrisy is woven of a fine small thread, Subtler than Vulcan's engine: You may flatter yourself, And take your own choice ; privately be married Under the eaves of night Ferd.
Think 't the best voyage That e'er you made ; like the irregular crab, Which, though 't goes backward, thinks that it goes right Because it goes its own way: The marriage night Is the entrance into some prison. And those joys, Those lustful pleasures, are like heavy sleeps Which do fore-run man's mischief.
Fare you well. Wisdom begins at the end: The Duchess of Malfi Duch. I think this speech between you both was studied, It came so roundly off. You are my sister ; This was my father's poniard, do you see? I 'd be loth to see J t look rusty, 'cause 'twas his. I would have you give o'er these chargeable revels: A visor and a mask are whispering-rooms That were never built for goodness ; fare ye well ; And women like that part which, like the lamprey, Hath never a bone in 't.
Fie, sir! Nay, I mean the tongue ; variety of courtship: What cannot a neat knave with a smooth tale Make a woman believe? Farewell, lusty widow. Shall this move me?
If all my royal kindred Lay in my way unto this marriage, I 'd make them my low footsteps: Let old wives report I wink'd and chose a husband. Cariola, To thy known secrecy I have given up More than my life, my fame.
Both shall be safe ; For I '11 conceal this secret from the world As warily as those that trade in poison Keep poison from their children. Thy protestation Is ingenious and hearty: I believe it.
Is Antonio come? He attends you. Good dear soul, Leave me ; but place thyself behind the arras, Where thou mayst overhear us. Enter Antonio. I sent for you: What did I say? That I should write somewhat. O, I remember. After these triumphs and this large expense It 's fit, like thrifty husbands, we inquire What 's laid up for to-morrow. So please your beauteous excellence.
I look young for your sake ; You have ta'en my cares upon you. I '11 fetch your grace The particulars of your revenue and expense. O, you are An upright treasurer: In heaven. I am making my will as 'tis fit princes should, In perfect memory , and, I pray, sir, tell me, Were not one better make it smiling, thus, Than in deep groans and terrible ghastly looks, As if the gifts we parted with procured That violent distraction?
O, much better. If I had a husband now, this care were quit: But I intend to make you overseer. Begin with that first good deed began i' the world After man's creation, the sacrament of marriage: I 'd have you first provide for a good husband ; Give him all. Yes, your excellent self. In a winding-sheet? In a couple.
Saint Winifred, that were a strange will! What do you think of marriage? I take 't, as those that deny purgatory, It locally contains or heaven or hell ; There 's no third place in 't. How do you affect it? My banishment, feeding my melancholy, Would often reason thus. Pray, let 's hear it. Say a man never marry, nor have children, What takes that from him? Fie, fie, what 's all this?
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One of your eyes is blood-shot ; use my ring to ' They say 'tis very sovereign: You have parted with it now. Yes, to help your eye-sight. You have made me stark blind. The Duchess of Malfi Duck. There is a saucy and ambitious devil Is dancing in this circle. Remove him. There needs small conjuration, when your finger May do it: What said you? Sir, This goodly roof of yours is too low built ; I cannot stand upright in 't nor discourse, Without I raise it higher: Ambition, madam, is a great man's madness, That is not kept in chains and close-pent rooms, But in fair lightsome lodgings, and is girt With the wild noise of prattling visitants, Which makes it lunatic beyond all cure.
Conceive not I am so stupid but I aim Whereto your favours tend: So, now the ground 's broke, You may discover what a wealthy mine I make you lord of. O my unworthiness! You were ill to sell yourself: This darkening of your worth is not like that Which tradesmen use i' the city ; their false lights Are to rid bad wares off: Were there nor heaven nor hell, I should be honest: I have long serv'd virtue, And ne'er ta'en wages of her.
We are forc'd to woo, because none dare woo us ; And as a tyrant doubles with his words, And fearfully equivocates, so we Are forc'd to express our violent passions A In riddles and in dreams, and leave the path Of simple virtue, which was never made To seem the thing it is not. Go, go brag You have left me heartless ; mine is in your bosom: I hope 'twill multiply love there.
You do tremble: Make not your heart so dead a piece of flesh, To fear more than to love me. Sir, be confident: What is 't distracts you?
This is flesh and blood, sir; 'Tis not the figure cut in alabaster Kneels at my husband's tomb. Awake, awake, man 1 I do here put off all vain ceremony, And only do appear to you a young widow 21 ACT i. The Duchess of Malfi That claims you for her husband, and, like a widow, I use but half a blush in 't. Truth speak for me ; I will remain the constant sanctuary Of your good name. I thank you, gentle love: And 'cause you shall not come to me in debt, Being now my steward, here upon your lips I sign your Quietus est.
This you should have begg'd now: I have seen children oft eat sweetmeats thus, As fearful to devour them too soon.
But for your brothers? Do not think of them: All discord without this circumference Is only to be pitied, and not fear'd: Yet, should they know it, time will easily Scatter the tempest. These words should be mine, And all the parts you have spoke, if some part of it Would not have savour'd flattery. Be not amaz'd ; this woman 's of my counsel: I have heard lawyers say, a contract in a chamber Per verba presenti is absolute marriage.
Bless, heaven, this sacred gordian, which let violence Never untwine! And may our sweet affections, like the spheres, Be still in motion! Quickening, and make The like soft music! That we may imitate the loving palms, Best emblem of a peaceful marriage, That never bore fruit, divided!
What can the church force more? That fortune may not know an accident, Either of joy or sorrow, to divide Our fixed wishes! How can the church build faster? We now are man and wife, and 'tis the church That must but echo this. Maid, stand apart: What 's your conceit in this? I would have you lead your fortune by the hand Unto your marriage-bed: You speak in me this, for we now are one: We '11 only lie, and talk together, and plot To appease my humorous kindred ; and if you please, Like the old tale in Alexander and Lodowick, Lay a naked sword between us, keep us chaste.
The Duchess of Malfi O, let me shrowd my blushes in your bosom, Since 'tis the treasury of all my secrets! Whether the spirit of greatness or of woman Reign most in her, I know not ; but it shows A fearful madness: I owe her much of pity. An apartment in the palace of the Duchess. Enter Bosola and Castrucdo. You say you would fain be taken for an eminent courtier? Let me see: I would have you learn to twirl the strings of your band with a good grace, and in a set speech, at the end of every sentence, to hum three or four times, or blow your nose till it smart again, to recover your memory.
When you come to be a president in criminal causes, if you smile upon a prisoner, hang him ; but if you frown upon him and threaten him, let him be sure to 'scape the gallows. I would be a very merry president. Do not sup o' nights ; 'twill beget you an admirable wit. The Duchess of Malfi Cast. Rather it would make me have a good stomach to quarrel ; for they say, your roaring boys eat meat seldom, and that makes them so valiant. But how shall I know whether the people take me for an eminent fellow?
I will teach a trick to know it: Enter an Old Lady. You come from painting now. Old Lady. From what? Why, from your scurvy face-physic. To behold thee not painted inclines somewhat near a miracle: There was a lady inl France that, having had the small-pox, flayed the!
Do you call this painting? No, no, but you call [it] careening of an old mor- phewed lady, to make her disembogue again: It seems you are well acquainted with my closet. I would sooner eat a dead pigeon taken from the soles of the feet of one sick of the plague, than kiss one of you fasting.
Here are two of you, whose sin of your youth is the very patri- mony of the physician ; makes him renew his foot- cloth with the spring, and change his high-priced courtezan with the fall of the leaf. I do wonder you do not loathe yourselves. Observe my meditation now.
We account it ominous, If nature do produce a colt, or lamb, A fawn, or goat, in any limb resembling A man, and fly from 't as a prodigy: Man stands amaz'd to see his deformity In any other creature but himself. But in our own flesh though we bear diseases Which have their true names only ta'en from beasts, 60 As the most ulcerous wolf and swinish measle, Though we are eaten up of lice and worms, And though continually we bear about us A rotten and dead body, we delight To hide it in rich tissue: The Duchess of Malfi Your wife 's gone to Rome: I have other work on foot.
I observe our duchess Is sick a-days, she pukes, her stomach seethes, The fins of her eye-lids look most teeming blue, She wanes i' the cheek, and waxes fat i' the flank, And, contrary to our Italian fashion, Wears a loose-bodied gown: I have a trick may chance discover it, A pretty one ; I have bought some apricocks, The first our spring yields.
And so long since married? Let me seal your lips for ever: For, did I think that anything but the air Could carry these words from you, I should wish You had no breath at all. Now, sir, in your con- templation? You are studying to become a great wise fellow.
O, sir, the opinion of wisdom is a foul tetter that runs all over a man's body: I do understand your inside. Do you so? Because you would not seem to appear to the world Puff 'd up with your preferment, you continue This out-of-fashion melancholy: Give me leave to be honest in any phrase, in any compliment whatsoever.
Shall I confess myself to you? I look no higher than I can reach: A lawyer's mule of a slow pace will both suit my disposition and business ; for, mark me, when a man's mind rides faster than his horse can gallop, they quickly both tire.
You would look up to heaven, but I think The devil, that rules i' the air, stands in your light. O, sir, you are lord of the ascendant, chief man with the duchess: Say you were lineally descended from King Pepin, or he himself, what of this?
Some would think the souls of princes were brought forth by some more weighty cause than those of meaner persons: Your arm, Antonio: I am exceeding short-winded. Bosola, I would have you, sir, provide for me a litter ; Such a one as the Duchess of Florence rode in.
The duchess us'd one when she was great with child. I think she did. Come hither, mend my ruff: Here, when? Shall I swoon under thy ringers? I am So troubled with the mother! I have heard you say that the French courtiers Wear their hats on 'fore the king. I have seen it Duch. In the presence? Why should not we bring up that fashion? Be you the example to the rest o' the court ; Put on your hat first. You must pardon me: I have a present for your grace. For me, sir? Apricocks, madam. O, sir, where are they?
I have heard of none to-year. Indeed, I thank you: What an unskilful fellow is our gardener! Will not your grace pare them? I know not: I forget to tell you, the knave gardener, Only to raise his profit by them the sooner, Did ripen them in horse-dung. O, you jest. Indeed, madam, I do not love the fruit. Sir, you are loth To rob us of our dainties: ACT ii. To make a pippin grow upon a crab, A damson on a black-thorn.
A whirlwind strike off these bawd farthingales I For, but for that and the loose-bodied gown, I should have discover'd apparently The young springal cutting a caper in her belly. I thank you, Bosola: How now, madam! This green fruit and my stomach are not friends: How they swell me! O, I am in an extreme cold sweat! I am very sorry. Lights to my chamber!
O good Antonio, I fear I am undone! Lights there, lights! Exit, on the other side, Bosola. O my most trusty Delio, we are lost!
I fear she 's fall'n in labour ; and there 's left No time for her remove. Have you prepaid Those ladies to attend her? I have. Make use, then, of this forc'd occasion: Give out that Bosola hath poison'd her With these apricocks ; that will give some colour For her keeping close.
Fie, fie, the physicians Will then flock to her. For that you may pretend She '11 use some prepaid antidote of her own, Lest the physicians should re-poison her. It has been an enormous pleasure to work with so many dedicated scholars of Renaissance drama and we are sure that this series will encourage you to read year-old playtexts with fresh eyes. The production included costumes influenced by Holbein and a Renaissance Dance of Death for the madmen.
Introduction Christina Luckyj In the film Shakespeare in Love, John Webster makes a brief appearance as a dirty street urchin with a Cockney accent and a puerile taste for mutilation, torture and gore. About everything else it is mostly wrong. His prefaces reveal him as a careful playwright with an awareness of the conventions of classical tragedy and a command of Latin.
If Webster has been seen as both strange and familiar, both grotesque and recognizably mainstream i. Shakespearean , this may be due in part to the conspicuously mixed style of The Duchess of Malfi itself. Yet, like other characters, the Duchess also frequently turns to artifice.
In a famous essay, Inga-Stina Ekeblad observes that, consistent with what T. Comparisons with Shakespeare may be invidious but they are inevitable. Where Shakespeare toys with the fantasy of a match between apparent social unequals Perdita and Florizel, his heroine is always actually a lost princess — as her horror of the notion of grafting a metaphor for cross-class marriage makes clear.
Hermione, a ruler and a mother like the Duchess, also appears pregnant onstage and suffers false accusations regarding her sexual promiscuity with heroic dignity. This tragic isolation singles the Duchess out among female characters in Renaissance drama: while Shakespeare also gives dramatic prominence to a number of complex tragic women such as Juliet and Cleopatra, they remain defined by and dedicated to their lovers in death as in life. Though she is no revenger, the Duchess, like Hamlet, acts on human impulses in the name of virtue only to discover that she cannot control the consequences of her choices.
These elements have led to some critics claiming that she should be perceived as flawed and guilty,15 while others insist that she must be seen as heroic and virtuous. In Painter, the maid and Antonio generate the plans to fly to Ancona and then Milan that in Webster come from the Duchess herself.
Rather than advancing an oversimplified view of the Duchess as right or wrong, good or evil, Webster suggests that she occupies a complex position at the contested site of conflicting contemporary attitudes to marriage, women and authority, as Frances Dolan argues in her essay in this volume. That would no doubt have depended not only on their individual views about gender and class, but also on their particular religio-political allegiances, as Leah Marcus observes in her chapter; like modern audiences, Renaissance audiences did not share a single uniform response.
Evidence suggests that powerful and unconventional women who lived in early modern London aroused both positive and negative reactions in their contemporaries. Often derided as unruly and disobedient, strong and independent-minded women who pursued marital or dynastic goals to which they appeared to be entitled could clearly also be admired. If the other characters appear to be mired in the fictional world, Bosola and the Duchess appear to have independent lives outside the fiction that allow them to comment on it, thus heightening our sense of their richness and depth.
Yet even Ferdinand and the Cardinal are far from cardboard villains. Their recognitions usher in the sprawling — and, for readers and audiences, often frustrating — final act from which the Duchess has been withdrawn. However disingenuously, Bosola here wistfully gives voice to the imagined possibility of a creative and complementary relationship between ruler and virtuous advisor.
Extant in two different states Q1a and Q1b , it may well have been corrected in mid-run by Webster himself. James not only refused to defend international Protestantism, but continued to pursue alliances with Spain, seeking a Spanish match for his son Charles.
In The Duchess of Malfi may have called to mind this contemporary crisis — the flight, banishment and separation of Antonio and the Duchess reflecting the recent humiliating exile of Princess Elizabeth, who in fled Prague, heavily pregnant, with her servants and children, persecuted by the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand and actively rejected by her family of origin. More recently, as Dympna Callaghan observes in her account of twentyfirst-century criticism, our interest in gender and sexuality, death and horror — reflected in a contemporary taste for the gothic — has driven interpretations of The Duchess of Malfi.
In their view, the play reworks established literary tropes to register immediate fears about corruption and favouritism in the court of King James. Frances E.
The Duchess of Malfi
Even the turn to social history, as it offers evidence of a complex and contradictory culture in flux, does not help us pluck out the heart of their mystery. Notes 1. Shakespeare in Love, dir. In Don D. Moore, ed.
In Moore, p. The Selected Plays of John Webster, ed. See Dale B. He serves Ferdinand as a hired "intelligencer" spy in the Duchess's household. Then, after betraying her secrets to the brothers, he carries out the executions of the Duchess, her maid, and her children.
All the while he is portrayed as a melancholy malcontent who seems obsessed, almost to the point of nihilism, by bodily decay and death. Deception The tendrils of deceit extend to almost all the major characters in the play. The Cardinal , Ferdinand , and Daniel de Bosola dissemble, or present a false notion of themselves, continuously. Indeed deception seems part of their nature.
In contrast to innate dishonesty, however, virtuous characters such as the Duchess of Malfi , Antonio Bologna , and Delio are forced to adopt deception. Ferdinand sets the pattern in Act 1 when he persuades his sister to hire Bosola for "provisorship o'th' horse. In Act 2 Bosola carries out an elaborate stratagem, or scheme, with apricots to ascertain whether the Duchess is pregnant.
Meanwhile, the Cardinal's deceit is apparent in his lecherous relationship with Julia, who cuckolds her husband Castruccio to serve the prelate as his mistress. Sarcastically and hypocritically, the Cardinal declares it would take one of Galileo's telescopes "to find a constant woman. The web of deception in the play is so elaborate and complex that virtuous characters are involved as well as evil ones. For example, Delio recommends the Duchess and Antonio spread the rumor that Bosola's apricots have been poisoned.
To distract attention from the Duchess's childbirth, she fabricates an accusation of embezzlement against Antonio. And, when Bosola recommends to the Duchess a bogus pilgrimage to Loreto to conceal her flight to Ancona, she readily assents.
Cruelty The theme of cruelty, like the theme of deception, intersects and overlaps with the theme of corruption in the play. The principal exemplar of cruelty is Ferdinand , the Duchess of Malfi 's twin brother. Four scenes with Ferdinand stand out in the dramatization of this character trait.Though he has shown some small signs of madness all along, and certainly irrationality, in the fifth act, he is completely undone, fighting his own shadow and digging up corpses, believing himself to be a wolf.
You are still abusing women? Bosola has purloined a key to the Duchesss bedroom for Ferdinand, and though the latter accepts it, he will not tell Bosola what he intends to do with it. Rest firm, for my affection to thee, Lightning moves slow to 't. VI of Scotland is crowned King. Bosola next orders her children and Cariola killed. Now we are appreciating themes typically glossed over in the mad rush to bloodshed.
I have been setting a figure For the duchess' jewels. Why, to know the trick how to make a many lines meet in one centre.