The White Devil

by

John Webster

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Francisco/Mulinassar Character Analysis

Francisco de Medici is the duke of Tuscany and one of the most powerful men in all of Italy. As a member of the real-life Medici family, Francisco had connections to many European leaders, from the heart of Italy to Vienna, Austria. In the play, Francisco is shown to be a loyal family member to his sister Isabella: when her husband Brachiano cheats on her with Vittoria, Francisco puts Vittoria on trial and has Brachiano killed by the hired assassin Lodovico. To observe his plans in action, Francisco also appears at Brachiano’s court disguised as Mulinassar, a militaristic Moor. His murderous and manipulative ways suggest that Francisco is a Machiavellian leader, gaining power through deception and fear instead of through inspiration and love. Notably, Francisco is more aware of class differences than his counterparts—but while he reflects on the inequity of the justice system, he does nothing to actually alter it.

Francisco/Mulinassar Quotes in The White Devil

The The White Devil quotes below are all either spoken by Francisco/Mulinassar or refer to Francisco/Mulinassar. 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:
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
).
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

MONTICELSO:
It is a more direct and even way,
To train to virtue those of princely blood,
By examples than by precepts: if by examples,
Whom should he rather strive to imitate
Than his own father? be his pattern then,
Leave him a stock of virtue that may last,
Should fortune rend his sails, and split his mast.

Related Characters: Monticelso (speaker), Giovanni , Brachiano, Francisco/Mulinassar, Gasparo
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

FRANCISCO:
My lord, there’s great suspicion of the murder,
But no sound proof who did it. For my part,
I do not think she hath a soul so black
To act a deed so bloody; if she have,
As in cold countries husbandmen plant vines,
And with warm blood manure them; even so
One summer she will bear unsavory fruit,
And ere next spring wither both branch and root.
The act of blood let pass; only descend
To matters of incontinence.

VITTORIA:
I discern poison
Under your gilded pills.

Related Characters: Francisco/Mulinassar (speaker), Vittoria (speaker), Monticelso
Related Symbols: Poison, Trees
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

FRANCISCO:
And thus it happens:
Your poor rogues pay for ’t, which have not the means
To present bribe in fist; the rest o’ th’ band
Are razed out of the knaves’ record; or else
My lord he winks at them with easy will;
His man grows rich, the knaves are the knaves still.
[…] That in so little paper
Should lie th’ undoing of so many men!
’Tis not so big as twenty declarations.
See the corrupted use some make of books:
Divinity, wrested by some factious blood,
Draws swords, swells battles, and o’erthrows all good.

Related Characters: Francisco/Mulinassar (speaker), Monticelso , Brachiano
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

FRANCISCO:
Oh, the fate of princes!
I am so used to frequent flattery
That, being alone, I now flatter myself.

Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

LODOVICO:
Why now ’tis come about. He rail’d upon me;
And yet these crowns were told out, and laid ready,
Before he knew my voyage. Oh, the art,
The modest form of greatness! that do sit,
Like brides at wedding-dinners, with their looks turn’d
From the least wanton jests, their puling stomach
Sick from the modesty, when their thoughts are loose,
Even acting of those hot and lustful sports
Are to ensue about midnight: such his cunning!
He sounds my depth thus with a golden plummet.
I am doubly arm’d now. Now to th’ act of blood,
There ’s but three furies found in spacious hell,
But in a great man’s breast three thousand dwell.

Related Characters: Lodovico (speaker), Monticelso , Francisco/Mulinassar
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

FRANCISCO:
I shall never flatter him: I have studied man too much to do that. What difference is between the duke and I? no more than between two bricks, all made of one clay: only ’t may be one is placed in top of a turret, the other in the bottom of a well, by mere chance. If I were placed as high as the duke, I should stick as fast, make as fair a show, and bear out weather equally.

Related Characters: Francisco/Mulinassar (speaker), Flamineo, Brachiano
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

FLAMINEO:
Had women navigable rivers in their eyes,
They would dispend them all. Surely, I wonder
Why we should wish more rivers to the city,
When they sell water so good cheap. I ’ll tell thee
These are but Moorish shades of griefs or fears;
There ’s nothing sooner dry than women’s tears.
Why, here ’s an end of all my harvest; he has given me nothing.
Court promises! let wise men count them curs’d;
For while you live, he that scores best, pays worst.

FRANCISCO:
Sure this was Florence’ doing.

FLAMINEO:
Very likely:
Those are found weighty strokes which come from th’ hand,
But those are killing strokes which come from th’ head.
Oh, the rare tricks of a Machiavellian!
He doth not come, like a gross plodding slave,
And buffet you to death; no, my quaint knave,
He tickles you to death, makes you die laughing,
As if you had swallow’d down a pound of saffron.
You see the feat, ’tis practis’d in a trice;
To teach court honesty, it jumps on ice.

Related Characters: Flamineo (speaker), Francisco/Mulinassar (speaker), Vittoria, Brachiano, Zanche
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 6 Quotes

VITTORIA:
If Florence be in the court, would he would kill me.

GASPARO:
Fool! Princes give rewards with their own hands,
But death or punishment by the hands of others.

Related Characters: Vittoria (speaker), Gasparo (speaker), Lodovico , Brachiano, Francisco/Mulinassar
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
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Francisco/Mulinassar Character Timeline in The White Devil

The timeline below shows where the character Francisco/Mulinassar appears in The White Devil. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 1
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Isabella enters the court with her brother Francisco de Medici, the Duke of Florence. Francisco makes reference to Brachiano’s wandering eye, but Isabella... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Along with Monticelso, a Cardinal in the Roman church, Francisco meets with Brachiano and Flamineo. Monticelso lectures Brachiano on acting out of passion, counseling that... (full context)
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
When Brachiano does not deny the accusation, Francisco is furious that Brachiano is treating Isabella so poorly. Francisco is anxious to “end this... (full context)
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Giovanni and Francisco talk, and Giovanni expresses his desire to be a new kind of prince: he will... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
...Rome early. But while Isabella dotes on Brachiano, he treats her coldly—he insults her brother Francisco, and he vows that he will never have sex with her again. (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Isabella is deeply hurt, but instead of complaining to Francisco (as Brachiano expects), Isabella decides to make peace between the two men. As Francisco watches,... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...sure sign that Vittoria has betrayed her husband (“’tis given out you are a cuckold”). Francisco warns Camillo that if he is not careful, Vittoria will have children by her lover.  (full context)
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
...the pirates on the Italian coast. Alongside Camillo, Monticelso also nominates Marcello, an aide to Francisco—who also happens to be Vittoria’s other brother (younger than Flamineo). (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Camillo leaves, resolving to get drunk and forget his troubles. In his absence, Monticelso and Francisco reveal their real plan: now that Camillo is gone, Brachiano will show the extent of... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Monticelso and Francisco consider that their plan might put Camillo in real danger—but Monticelso decides that he would... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
It’s a few days later, and Camillo is now dead. At the court, Monticelso and Francisco try to figure out how they can connect Vittoria to his death—they are certain she... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
...to the courthouse, where almost all of the characters have come to see Vittoria’s arraignment. Francisco and Monticelso try to keep Brachiano from the proceedings, but they are unsuccessful. The court... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
...but he uses so many fancy words that Vittoria again refuses to answer him. Frustrated, Francisco dispatches the lawyer, and Monticelso steps in to accuse Vittoria in plain language of being... (full context)
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Francisco now jumps in, arguing that Vittoria’s alleged adultery proves that she is guilty of murder.... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Francisco reflects that he does not think Vittoria could have orchestrated the murder on her own;... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...both of Vittoria’s brothers are charged “sureties,” or court fees; Brachiano pays for Flamineo’s, while Francisco pays for Marcello’s. (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
...after, Giovanni appears dressed all in black—as he has learned to do from his uncle Francisco—and informs everyone in the court that his mother Isabella has been found dead. The news... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...while Lodovico, along with his friends Antonelli and Gasparo, grieve sincerely. Antonelli informs Lodovico that Francisco has restored his citizenship, ending his exile. (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Like Francisco and Monticelso, Lodovico blames Vittoria for Isabella’s death. As Flamineo continues to put on a... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Outside the courthouse, Francisco fumes: he wants to take revenge on Brachiano for his sister’s death, but to do... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Now that he is resolved to play the long game, Francisco asks Monticelso about the book of names he carries; Monticelso explains that he has created... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
...of pirates and usurers, adulterers and corrupt lawyers, and of women who dress as men. Francisco is most interested in the section about murderers, and he asks Monticelso to leave him... (full context)
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Alone at last, Francisco reflects on in the inequity of the justice system; whereas wealthy men can afford to... (full context)
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Francisco at last confides his plot: he will use this book to hire murderers to kill... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
...reveal that the Pope is on his deathbed, and all of Rome is in chaos. Francisco’s servant interrupts this conversation to sneak the Matron his boss’s letter, explaining that it is... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
...demand to see the letter. To Brachiano’s horror, it is a love letter, in which Francisco encourages Vittoria to escape with him to Florence. Brachiano is immediately consumed with jealously; he... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
...Vittoria and demands to know the truth. Vittoria explains that she was never involved with Francisco and that the letter is a lie, meant to make her look guilty and unfaithful.... (full context)
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Moreover, though he loathes Francisco, Brachiano ultimately decides to adopt and adapt the plan laid out in the letter: instead... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
A servant informs Francisco that Vittoria and Brachiano have seized on this political confusion to make their escape to... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Privately, Francisco confirms with Lodovico that he is willing to assassinate Brachiano. Witnessing this conversation (but not... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...in love with the married Isabella, and he is determined to avenge her murder alongside Francisco. Monticelso is dismayed by this plan, and he gets up to leave—but before doing so,... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Francisco gives Lodovico a great deal of money, explaining that it is from the Pope. Lodovico... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
...Vittoria have gotten married and are holding court in Padua. An impressive young Moor named Mulinassar, accompanied by two young Capuchin monks from Hungary, has come to visit the couple. Hortensio... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Brachiano enters alongside Mulinassar, who is really Francisco in disguise. Brachiano pays great honor to Mulinassar, and he invites... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
...Lodovico wishes that they had come up with a more stylish kind of murder, but Francisco insists that their plan is the most direct and effective option. (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
...that Flamineo has only himself to blame, as he had previously been involved with Zanche. Francisco (still dressed as Mulinassar) enters, and Zanche, herself a Moor, decides she wants to talk... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Flamineo, Marcello, and Francisco-as-Mulinassar discuss the difficulty of making a living as a soldier. Flamineo then complains to Hortensio... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Zanche has slipped away to talk to Francisco-as-Mulinassar. Almost immediately, she confesses her love to him; he explains that he has vowed never... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
...of death, princes are alone; “where are their flatterers now?” he asks. Flamineo confesses to Francisco, who is still dressed as Mulinassar, that he often “dissemble[d]” while working for Brachiano—in reality,... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
...that Vittoria is faking her sadness, comments that “there’s nothing sooner dry than woman’s tears.” Francisco-as-Mulinassar speculates aloud that this was probably the work of the Duke of Florence (Francisco), and... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Zanche returns and flirts with Francisco-as-Mulinassar, and each pretends to have had a dream about having sex with the other. After... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Still not realizing the true identity of Mulinassar, Zanche tells him she plans to rob Vittoria to and escape to the countryside, where... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Lodovico asks Francisco to leave Padua to spare himself any shame from the bloody events that are about... (full context)