The White Devil


John Webster

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Throughout the English Renaissance, the word “cuckold” was used to describe any man whose wife had committed (or was suspected of) infidelity. Often, a ram’s horns were used to symbolize cuckoldry. Frequently, “cuckold” was used as an insult to denigrate or emasculate men, just as Francisco uses it against Camillo.

Cuckold Quotes in The White Devil

The The White Devil quotes below are all either spoken by Cuckold or refer to Cuckold. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 2 Quotes

It seems you are jealous: I ’ll show you the error of it by a familiar example: I have seen a pair of spectacles fashioned with such perspective art, that lay down but one twelve pence a’ th’ board, twill appear as if there were twenty; now should you wear a pair of these spectacles, and see your wife tying her shoe, you would imagine twenty hands were taking up of your wife’s clothes, and this would put you into a horrible, causeless fury.

The fault there, sir, is not in the eyesight.

True, but they that have the yellow jaundice think all objects they look on to be yellow. Jealousy is worse; her fits present to a man, like so many bubbles in a basin of water, twenty several crabbed faces, many times makes his own shadow his cuckold-maker.

Related Characters: Flamineo (speaker), Camillo (speaker), Brachiano, Vittoria
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cuckold Term Timeline in The White Devil

The timeline below shows where the term Cuckold appears in The White Devil. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
...for his jealousy, telling him that it is in fact his fear of being made “cuckold” that his driving his wife away. After teasing Camillo for having horns and “large ears,”... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
External Virtue vs. Internal Truth Theme Icon
Double Standards of Desire Theme Icon
Punishment and Repentance  Theme Icon
...a 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... (full context)