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However, he we want to consider The Duchess of Malfi as a Revenge Tragedy, we need to know what we mean by revenge tragedy and its major conventions. Duchess of Malfi Answer: The revenge play or revenge tragedy is a tragedy in which a murder victim is avenged, often by a younger kinsmen. ‘DUCHESS OF MALFI’ AS A REVENGE TRAGEDY | The main aim of this work is to point out series of revenge that occurs in the text and find.

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Is there truly a presence of ghosts in this play that adds to its supernaturalism?

One of the features unique to Restoration comedy is the figure of the rake as romantic hero. The play is best known for its spectacular and disturbing violence. There should be murders In this drama, we find people taking revenge and are murdering others. Wilmore, the rake-hero of The Roverexemplifies many of these traits, but he differs in significant duchexs.

Skip to main content. Another image of madness occurs in Ferdinand’s fury.

The revenge tragedy genre of English literature generally refers to a body of dramatic works written aas the mid- s to the early s, from the Elizabethan to the Caroline period. Helena exemplifies the independent and witty Restoration comic heroine, a suitable counterpart to her rake-hero.

“The Duchess of Malfi” as a Jacobean Revenge Tragedy

The revenge tragedy has a hero whose honour has been wronged; in this play, the brothers seek revenge on the Duchess, who has done them no harm. The rake- hero is a descendant of earlier comedic male characters who were rogues, but he is a sign of the times in that during this period he supplanted the traditional romantic hero in many of the age’s theatrical productions.

The problem of aspiration and limitation, as with appearance and reality, is dealt with by the female use of masks and disguises which generalizes the female experience in the play. But unlike Horner, he doesn’t practice deceit to reveal it. The Duchess of Malfi as a Revenge Tragedy: In summing up we can say that “The Duchess of Malfi” is a revenge tragedy.

As a governor, the Duchess is not able to succeed for preferring her personal craving for remarriage rather than her official responsibilities towards her people.


However, The Duchess of Malfi contains full of such terrifying, hair-raising situations from the beginning to the end. The narrative should involve complex plotting.


Following the political and social turmoil of the English Civil War, the Restoration Age was characterized by a sense of loss and cultural disillusion coupled with efforts to restore social stability and cohesion. Also referred to as the Comedy of Manners because the chief characters are usually members of high society, the Restoration comedy tends to feature recurring types namely a graceful young rake, a faithless wife, a deceived husband, and perhaps, a charming young heroine who is to be besotted on by the rake.

Ferdinand gives her the command. Like her rake counterpart, each heroine is to a certain extent frank about her sexual needs and desires. In presenting the supernatural too, Webster deviates from the tradition or modifies the tradition. Taking revenge and murdering people are the integral part of revenge tragedy.

The Duke advices the scheme to torture the Duchess with the intention of turning her mad. The drama possesses an abundance of humor, sprightly wit, and farcical adventures. The revengeful brothers are both villains.

The Duchess of Malfi duxhess a play replete with darkness, both literal and figurative. This acknowledgment of normal female sexual desire on the part of the playwrights indicates a shift from ideas found in earlier dramas of the century, that female expressions of sexual appetite automatically made a woman a whore. Drawing partly on precedents in Senecan tragedy, the English revenge tragedy is far more bloodthirsty in its explicit presentation of premeditated violence.

The characteristics of Revenge Tragedy are: The play concludes with the presentation of Antonio’s son, rdvenge is the sole surviving member of the family The play is based on the true story of Giovanna of Aragon, Duchess of Malfi, who was widowed at about 20 years old and then secretly wed Antonio Bologna in a service witnessed only by her waiting-woman, a similar situation to that which Webster dramatized.

“The Duchess of Malfi” as a Jacobean Revenge Tragedy | Raadaa

He probably wrote it in either orand it was first staged before the end of On the other hand, the brothers, who exhibit unrelenting evil, are associated with motifs of darkness, fire, the devil, and sin.

Evil in The Duchess of Malfi is a powerful and pervasive force that manages to destroy almost all that is good, but it is not all-powerful. You’ve just said that it doesn’t follow a revenge tragedy! In these dramatic presentations, all of these female characters seem to reflect an effort by women in Restoration society to both step up from the moral gutter and down from the pedestal and no doubt corresponds with the slow but continuing move in Britain from a religious society with their dogmatic views on the nature of women, to a secular society.


Webster tires to make the spirit of his dead protagonists. The name Revenge Tragedy arose from the Senecan tradition of making revenge the motive force for the action that leads to the tragedy.

He confesses that he is haunted by the spirit of the Duchess. Ferdinand starts to fancy that he is a wolf then to behave accordingly. It is also a way for the heroines themselves to challenge the social limitations imposed by husbands, fathers, and brothers that parallels and competes with the rake-heroes’ desire for freedom of sexual expression.

Revenge runs throughout The Duchess of Malfi.

There should obviously be a desire for revenge. According to Jacobean values, the young widowed Duchess remarries for satisfying her lust and that is what leads her to lie and to stand against all the religious tenets of her time. Her only fault is that she has married below her rank and status and thus the two brothers think, she has disgraced ass family.

Synopsis The heart of the story is the relationship between the widowed Duchess and her steward, Antonio, whom she secretly marries, defying both social revfnge and the wishes of her brothers, the Cardinal and Ferdinand, her twin. Also, it informs Antonio that his wife has been assassinated. Werewolves, speaking in a modern day sense, are not a common occurrence. The unruly dance of the mad men before the Duchess, the appearance of Bosola as a tomb makes and a bell man and the appearance of the executioners with bell and core in procession, too are intended to create horror.

This madness of the Duke his still greater significance.