Superstition in Duchess of Malfi

In: English and Literature

Submitted By paavai
Words 1837
Pages 8
Superstition, a sort of a feeling that takes umpteen number of forms and at times frightens life out of people, takes a special place in the life of a person which might make a person float on cloud nine or perish in dungeons. Superstitions are universal and they do exist even now in the 21st century and the plays before three centuries are no exceptions. The plays during the 16th and 17th centuries were abounding with superstitious beliefs which might seem ridiculous in the present scenario. In this paper we shall see the role of superstitious beliefs and dreams in The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster and All for Love by John Dryden.
The Duchess of Malfi is a revenge tragedy and unlike other revenge tragedies here the villain himself avenges the death of the Duchess. The Duchess is a young widow who is in love with Antonio, the manager of her house hold and is steadfast on marrying him. In spite of the threatening of her brothers she marries Antonio with the aid of Cariola. Ferdinand, one of her brothers employs Bosolo to spy her. Ferdinand apart from eyeing the fortune of the Duchess he also eyes her beauty. But Cardinal, the other brother of the Duchess is worried only about her wealth. Bosola passes the news that the Duchess has given birth to a child and Ferdinand in unquenchable fury banishes the Duchess. Ferdinand with the help of Bosola gains a fake key to the chamber of the Duchess and enters the chamber without the notice of the Duchess and the Duchess oblivious to the fact that Ferdinand is hiding in her chamber reveals her secret and Ferdinand advises her to cut her tongue lest she be betrays her husband. To save Antonio the Duchess calls him a thief and sends him to Ancona. Bosola chides her for doubting a loyal servant i.e. Antonio, at this point she confides her marriage…...

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