The Duchess of Malfi

Delio is Antonio’s friend and is of the same social class. Totally loyal, he is privy to Antonio and the Duchess’ secret marriage, and he looks after Antonio’s sole surviving son at the end of the play. In a break from the Shakespearean tradition of giving a play’s closing lines to the highest-ranking character, Webster gives Delio the play’s final lines. Delio is also a former suitor of Julia.

Delio Quotes in The Duchess of Malfi

The The Duchess of Malfi quotes below are all either spoken by Delio or refer to Delio. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The Duchess of Malfi published in 2015.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

A prince's court
Is like a common fountain, whence should flow
Pure silver drops in general; but if't chance
Some cursed example poison't near the head,
Death and diseases through the whole land spread.
And what is't makes this blessèd government
But a most provident council, who dare freely
Inform him the corruption of the times.

Related Characters: Antonio Bologna (speaker), Delio
Related Symbols: Poison, Disease
Page Number: 1.1.11-18
Explanation and Analysis:

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Some fellows, they say, are possessed with the devil, but this great fellow were able to possess the greatest devil and make him worse.

Related Characters: Daniel de Bosola (speaker), The Cardinal, Antonio Bologna, Delio
Page Number: 1.1.44-46
Explanation and Analysis:

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This foul melancholy
Will poison all his goodness, for, I'll tell you,
If too immoderate sleep be truly said
To be an inward rust unto the soul,
It then doth follow want of action
Breeds all black malcontents, and their close rearing,
Like moths in cloth, do hurt for want of wearing.

Related Characters: Antonio Bologna (speaker), The Duchess of Malfi, Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria, The Cardinal, Daniel de Bosola, Delio
Related Symbols: Poison
Page Number: 1.1.74-80
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Some such flashes superficially hang on him, for form; but observe his inward character: he is a melancholy churchman. The spring in his face is nothing but the engendering of toads. Where he is jealous of any man he lays worse plots for them than ever was imposed on Hercules, for he strews in his way flatterers, panders, intelligencers, atheists, and a thousand such political monsters.

Related Characters: Antonio Bologna (speaker), The Cardinal, Delio
Page Number: 1.2.70-76
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The Duke there? A most perverse and turbulent nature;
What appears in him mirth is merely outside.
If he laugh heartily, it is to laugh
All honesty out of fashion.

He speaks with others' tongues, and hears men's suits
With others' ears; will seem to sleep o’th' bench
Only to entrap offenders in their answers;
Dooms men to death by information,
Rewards by hearsay.

Related Characters: Antonio Bologna (speaker), Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria, Delio
Page Number: 1.2.82-89
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

It may be that the sudden apprehension
Of danger - for I'll go in mine own shape –
When he shall see it fraught with love and duty,
May draw the poison out of him, and work
A friendly reconcilement. If it fail,
Yet it shall rid me of this infamous calling;
For better fall once than be ever falling.

Related Characters: Antonio Bologna (speaker), The Duchess of Malfi, The Cardinal, Delio
Related Symbols: Poison
Page Number: 5.1.67-73
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

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Delio Character Timeline in The Duchess of Malfi

The timeline below shows where the character Delio appears in The Duchess of Malfi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...the wealth and power to truly participate. After a few moments the Cardinal enters, and Delio and Antonio stand aside while the Cardinal and Bosola talk. (full context)
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...sentence) while in his employment. The Cardinal dismisses Bosola and exits, and then Antonio and Delio approach. (full context)
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Once Antonio and Delio are alone, Delio explains that Bosola is known to have served seven years in the... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Class Theme Icon
...entrance of Castruccio, Silvio, Roderigo, and Grisolan, four courtiers to Duke Ferdinand, the Duchess’s brother. Delio notes that the hall is filling up with people, and Antonio replies that Duke Ferdinand... (full context)
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Once the Cardinal and Duchess enter, Antonio steps aside and begins quietly telling Delio about the character of the royal family. The Cardinal, he says, though he seems brave... (full context)
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...a long time. She has sweet looks, a sweet countenance, and she is extremely virtuous. Delio says that Antonio is complimenting her too much, but Antonio responds that she is so... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
On the other side of the stage, Delio and Antonio enter into a discussion about the secret marriage, revealing that Antonio has confided... (full context)
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
...her pregnancy will be discovered. Everyone then exits in a scramble leaving only Antonio and Delio. (full context)
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Alone on stage with Delio, Antonio fears that the Duchess has fallen into labor with no time to get her... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
...again, this time commenting on the stereotype that women are vain. She exits, and Antonio, Delio, Roderigo, and Grisolan enter. (full context)
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
After everyone else exits, Delio asks Antonio how the Duchess is doing. Antonio responds that she’s experiencing pain and fear,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...someone has come to see Julia, and that Castruccio, her husband, is now in Rome. Delio then enters, and Julia notes in an aside that Delio was a former suitor of... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
In Amalfi, some years later, Antonio greets Delio, who has been away from court for some time. He informs Delio that he and... (full context)
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
...forgive her. She gives an aside of relief and then exits along with Antonio and Delio. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...discuss war and the French king. Meanwhile, on the other side of the stage, Ferdinand, Delio, Silvio, and Pescara, a soldier and courtier, discuss Malateste, who they say is a terrible... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
In Milan, Antonio asks Delio what his chances of reconciling with the brothers are. Delio says it’s unlikely, as the... (full context)
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Once Pescara enters, Delio asks for one of Antonio’s citadels, but Pescara says no. Then Julia enters with a... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
...asks how he will find Antonio, to which the Cardinal responds that Bosola should follow Delio and possibly bribe him if necessary. After Bosola agrees, the Cardinal exits. Bosola then comments... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
Antonio and Delio are outside of the Cardinal’s window at his palace in Milan. Unbeknownst to Antonio and... (full context)
Love and Male Authority Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
...is dead. Antonito resolves to take the risk of death and meet with the Cardinal. Delio says that he’ll take care of Antonio’s eldest son and come in as backup if... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Religion and Sin Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...that lead to his death. He simply asks for Bosola to give his regards to Delio, and to tell his oldest son to “fly the courts of princes,” which either means... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Politics and Corruption Theme Icon
Guilt, Death, and Suffering Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Delio then enters, too late, with Antonio’s eldest son and heir. Delio says that he was... (full context)