Monday, January 20, 2020

The Fourth Act of The Duchess Essay -- The Duchess Plays Literature Es

The Fourth Act of The Duchess "The first necessity of baroque is that the audience should be gripped, excited, moved" [1] - so says Ralph Berry. The fourth act of The Duchess of Malfi certainly succeeds under all these criteria, being the dramatic crux of the play. The events that occur in the first scene are undoubtedly crucial, but it is the characters' vastly varied reactions to them that are vitally important. Rich imagery is deeply interwoven with the fabric of play - indeed, it is an essential part of its function - and the scene's proceedings are completely overshadowed by the telling relationship between Ferdinand, Bosola and the Duchess that is explored throughout act IV, scene i. Often, it is in the most trying times that the true nature of people is allowed to shine through their veiled everyday existence. In this scene, the Duchess is subjected to imprisonment and cruel tortures by her malevolent twin brother who is still unable to come to terms with his sister's independence and intimate relationship with Antonio. Bosola is beginning to experience emotions he had previously repressed or never had the capacity to experience in court life. He is forced to astatically struggle with inner turmoil and design for himself a new system of morality. Because of these simultaneous occurrences, the three major characters' rà ´les are brought out to the front of the stage for punctilious analysis. "The whole of Act IV is a protracted dying as, step by step, 'by degrees', the Duchess is made to face the utmost pain, misery and evil" [2]. As this happens, the very best and most deplorable characteristics are teased out and, as their relationship develops, the tensions between these three persons cause the... ...voked combines with horrors typical of the period and the complex relationship between the Duchess, Ferdinand and Bosola elicits responses that have a far greater effect on the outcome of the play than any other aspect of the drama or events that have occurred. --------------------------------------------------------------------- [1] Ralph Berry, The Art of John Webster (Clarendon Press, 1972) [2] Jan Kott, A personal essay (1986) [3] Professor John Jump, "The White Devil" and "The Duchess of Malfi" [4] John Webster, The White Devil, (Mermaid, 1996) [5] Peter Murray, A Study of John Webster (Mouton, 1969) [6] Professor John Jump, "The White Devil" and "The Duchess of Malfi" [7] Irving Ribner, Jacobean Tragedy: The Quest For Moral Order (Methuen, 1962) [8] U. M. Ellis Fermor, The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation (Methuen, 1936)

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