The Duchess of Malfi

by

John Webster

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Duchess of Malfi can help.

The Duchess of Malfi Symbols

Poison

Antonio introduces the symbol of poison in the play’s opening while making a political analogy about the ideal government, which, he says, should function like a fountain. Goodness should flow through the country, but if…

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Disease

References to disease, both figurative and literal, are made throughout the play. In an early speech, Bosola seems to indicate that disfigurement and disease signify a perversion and animalization of humanity. Two clear examples…

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Blood

In The Duchess of Malfi, blood works classically as a multifaceted symbol. First and most simply, blood symbolizes violence. When an act is particularly violent or cruel it is described as bloody. Blood is…

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