The White Devil

by

John Webster

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Lodovico Character Analysis

Count Lodovico begins the play as a murderer and drunkard in exile; he has been kicked out of Rome after participating in one too many scandals. But at the urging of his friends Antonelli and Gasparo, Lodovico uses his banishment to look inwards, and when he is eventually allowed to return to Rome, he does so as a (slightly) more principled man. Those principles do not stop him, however, from acting as Francisco’s hitman—motivated both by money and by a secret love for Brachiano’s wife Isabella, Lodovico agrees to disguise himself as a Capuchin monk and poison Brachiano. Lodovico’s complicated trajectory in the play demonstrates that true change can only come from within; by the end of the piece, Lodovico is reflective, willing to acknowledge—and repent for—his various crimes. But at the same time, money and power remain corrupting outside influences, causing even the reformed Lodovico to act out.

Lodovico Quotes in The White Devil

The The White Devil quotes below are all either spoken by Lodovico or refer to Lodovico . 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 1, Scene 1 Quotes

GASPARO:
O my lord,
The law doth sometimes mediate; thinks it good
Not ever to steep violent sins in blood.
This gentle penance may both end your crimes,
And in the example better these bad times.

Related Characters: Gasparo (speaker), Lodovico , Antonelli
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

CORNELIA:
The lives of princes should like dials move,
Whose regular example is so strong,
They make the times by them go right or wrong.

Related Characters: Cornelia (speaker), Flamineo, Brachiano, Vittoria, Lodovico
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

MONTICELSO:
Shall I expound whore to you? sure I shall;
I ’ll give their perfect character. They are first,
Sweetmeats which rot the eater; in man’s nostrils
Poison’d perfumes. They are cozening alchemy;
Shipwrecks in calmest weather. What are whores!
Cold Russian winters, that appear so barren,
As if that nature had forgot the spring.
They are the true material fire of hell:
Worse than those tributes i’ th’ Low Countries paid,
Exactions upon meat, drink, garments, sleep,
Ay, even on man’s perdition, his sin.
They are those brittle evidences of law,
Which forfeit all a wretched man’s estate
For leaving out one syllable. What are whores!
They are those flattering bells have all one tune,
At weddings, and at funerals. Your rich whores
Are only treasuries by extortion fill’d,
And emptied by curs’d riot. They are worse,
Worse than dead bodies which are begg’d at gallows,
And wrought upon by surgeons, to teach man
Wherein he is imperfect. What’s a whore!
She’s like the guilty counterfeited coin,
Which, whosoe’er first stamps it, brings in trouble
All that receive it.

Related Characters: Vittoria (speaker), Monticelso (speaker), Brachiano, Lodovico
Related Symbols: Poison
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

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 3 Quotes

Here, the rest being departed, LODOVICO and GASPARO discover themselves.

LODOVICO:
Devil Brachiano, thou art damn’d.
[…]You that were held the famous politician,
Whose art was poison.

GASPARO:
And whose conscience, murder.

LODOVICO:
That would have broke your wife’s neck down the stairs,
Ere she was poison’d.

GASPARO:
That had your villainous sallets.

LODOVICO:
And fine embroider’d bottles, and perfumes,
Equally mortal with a winter plague.

GASPARO:
Now there ’s mercury—

LODOVICO:
And copperas----

GASPARO:
And quicksilver----

LODOVICO:
With other devilish ’pothecary stuff,
A-melting in your politic brains: dost hear? […]
And thou shalt die like a poor rogue […]
And be forgotten
Before the funeral sermon.

Related Characters: Lodovico (speaker), Gasparo (speaker), Brachiano, Isabella
Related Symbols: Poison
Page Number: 133
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:

VITTORIA:
Oh, thou art deceived. I am too true a woman:
Conceit can never kill me. I’ll tell thee what,
I will not in my death shed one base tear,
Or if look pale, for want of blood not fear.

Related Characters: Vittoria (speaker), Lodovico , Gasparo , Monticelso
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lodovico Character Timeline in The White Devil

The timeline below shows where the character Lodovico appears in The White Devil. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Count Lodovico has been banished from Rome. As he laments his bad fortune, his friends Antonelli and... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Lodovico wonders why the court chose banishment instead of execution as his punishment, and Gasparo reflects... (full context)
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Antonelli and Gasparo urge Lodovico to use his time in exile to become a better person. Lodovico agrees, and his... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
The scene now shifts to the Roman court. Just as Lodovico said, Brachiano is desperate to have sex with Vittoria. Flamineo, one of Vittoria’s brothers, encourages... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
...temporarily able to make peace with Brachiano. Francisco leaves, but not before mentioning that Count Lodovico has now become a pirate. (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
...for Vittoria, and they can catch him in the act. Monticelso also explains that Count Lodovico is not a pirate in the slightest; in fact, he is in Padua as they... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...will be the perfect way to poison her. When Brachiano expresses his surprise that Count Lodovico has appeared in the dumb show, the conjurer explains that he has used magic to... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Count Lodovico returns and confirms to Flamineo the news of Isabella’s death. Flamineo pretends to mourn the... (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 show of sadness,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...use this book to hire murderers to kill Brachiano. And what better assassin than Count Lodovico, whom he has just pardoned? To accomplish this plan, Francisco writes a letter and instructs... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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 being able to... (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
To make peace, Lodovico admits that he comes not as “an intelligencer, but as a penitent sinner”: he was... (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 realizes that... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
...Brachiano pays great honor to Mulinassar, and he invites Mulinassar and the monks—actually Gasparo and Lodovico—to store their swords in his chapel. (full context)
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Once Brachiano and Flamineo leave, the conspirators reveal themselves and plot their revenge. Lodovico wishes that they had come up with a more stylish kind of murder, but Francisco... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Flamineo begrudgingly does what Brachiano has ordered, acknowledging that his “will is law now.” Meanwhile, Lodovico—still in disguise as a Capuchin monk—secretly sprinkles the front part of Brachiano’s helmet (which the... (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
Lodovico and Gasparo enter, still dressed as Capuchin monks. Flamineo instructs them to administer the extreme... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Lodovico (in disguise) enters and explains that Brachiano is going mad, but that he has left... (full context)
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Still dressed as Capuchin monks, Lodovico and Gasparo pretend to give the last rites to Brachiano. But before Brachiano takes his... (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... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
Class and Corruption Theme Icon
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
Lodovico and Gasparo enter dressed as Capuchin monks, but they quickly show their true identities to... (full context)
Leading by Example vs. Leading by Force Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...the bloody mess, and learning of his father’s crimes, Giovanni orders his people to torture Lodovico and Gasparo for having taken the law into their own hands. The play ends as... (full context)