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Flashcards in Duchess of Malfi - Key quotes Deck (47)
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Corruption appears from the top of the upper-social class and flows into those who are subservient mercenaries.

"a prince's court is like a common fountain... poison's near the head, Death and diseases through the whole land spread."
"Men oft are valued high, when h'are most wretched."


Webster's allegorical criticism of James I's court and the role of the panderer trapped in the closed cycle only to drop once elevated.

"plum trees that grow crooked over standing pools... their flattering panders, I would hang on their ears like a horse-leech till I were full, and then drop off."


Presentation of the Cardinal associated with the psychopathic bogeyman, having imbalanced humours, showing no remorse despite church status.

"this great fellow were able to possess the greatest devil and make him worse."
"he is a melancholy churchman... he did bestow bribes so largely"


The Malcontent appears as an outward reflection of an imbalance of the four humours.

"this foul melancholy will poison all his goodness."
"keep your old garb of melancholy."
"speculative man."


Subservience of the patriarchal society.

"courtiers should be my touchwood, take fire when I give fire."
"Whose throat must I cut?" (Bosola)
"The inconstant and rotten ground of service."


Appearance of geometry as a masculine practice, used to assert physical dominance and a fixed trajectory.

"a mathematical instrument made for her face, that she might not laugh out of compass."
"They go on strange geometrical hinges."


Ferdinand appears to be omniscient and all-knowing, ever-present, the voyeur

"Dooms men to death by information."
"To see her in the shameful act of sin"
"Fix your eye here. Constantly."


The Duchess is presented as a being of divinity in the eye of the beholder, hence the use of a light semantic field.

"She stains the time past, lights the time to come."


Bosola is transformed into a tool for his superior's in attempt to advance in society.

"a very quaint invisible devil in flesh: An intelligencer."


The hyper-sexuality of the widow as viewed in the Jacobean society.

"Let not youth... honour, sway your high blood."
"What cannot a neat knave with a smooth tale make a woman believe? Farewell lusty widow."
"grown a notorious strumpet."


The breaking of traditional gender roles in society, men's weakness is exemplified by the female association to the temptress.

"this goodly roof of yours is too low built... without I raise it higher"
"There is a saucy and ambitious devil is dancing in this circle."


Femininity is presented as a deceiving force that diverts the male-gaze from the truth and vice-versa

"A rotten and dead body, we delight to hide it in rich tissue."


Dramatic irony is associated with the outward role of the intelligencer.

"let me be simply honest... I look no higher than I can reach."
"the secret of my prince, which I will wear on h'inside of my heart."


Light appears as a divine power that uncovers the arras that hides the truth.

"I think the devil that rules i'th'air stands in your light."


Women's bodies are both subject to breeding but also a fear of their impermanence.

"most vulturous eating of apricots, are apparent signs of breeding."
"Feeder of pedigrees."


The dual-nature of female sexuality.

"some of you give entertainment for pure love; but more, for more precious reward."


The Duchess attempts to combine the marital (breeding) and the authoritative.

"Tis the Duchess' pleasure each officer be locked into his chamber."


Lighting of the pre-gothic genre to inflict tension and the unrest of desire.

"a dark lantern"
"fix her in a general eclipse."
"he comes i'h'night: and prays you, gently, neither torch nor taper."


The Malcontent is presented as an inhabitant of darkness, away from the supposed light of society.

"twas the melancholy bird, best friend of silence, and of solitariness."
"a night-walker."


The equality of gender and social-status.

"The great are like the base, nay, they are the same, when they seek shameful ways to avoid shame."


The masculine order, and the imperfect, misogynistic view of women as objects of manipulation.

"one that hath little fingering on the lute, yet cannot tune it."
"Yes. I can be angry without rupture."


Stagecraft- the role of the messenger as the observer/instigator of plot.

"Hath delivered a letter to the Duke of Calabria that, to my thinking, hath put him out of his wits."


The presentation and consequence of hubris, what is done is done.

"They pass through whirlpools... ere the action's done."
"You have shook hands with Reputation and made him invisible."
"All things do help th' unhappy man to fall."


Blood is associated with the feminine.

"Till of her bleeding heart I make a sponge to wipe it out."
"Tis not your whore's milk that shall quench my wild-fire, but your whore's blood."


Blood is a symbol of the poison'd and infected nobility.

"To purge infected blood, such blood as hers."
"The witchcraft lies in her rank blood."


Presentation of the masculine lead by a sexual desire.

"Some strong-thighed bargeman."
"my rule is only in the night."


Webster reflects the societal view through those of the court.

"The common rabble do directly say she is a strumpet."
"what 'tis to serve a prince with body and soul."


Association of the feminine with the supernatural temptress.

"power in potions"
"I will plant mine soul in mine ears to hear you."
"you shall see me wind my tongue about his heart."


The appearance of fate dooming those of noble birth who are lead by those below them.

"whether I am doomed to live, or die, I can do both like a prince."
"your direction shall lead me by the hand."
"Charon's boat serves to convey All o'er the dismal lake, but brings none back again."


Animalistic and bestial imagery in contingence with Ferdinand.

"if I could change eyes with a basilisk."
"save them from the tiger."
"I'll go hunt the badger, by owl-light: 'Tis a deed of darkness."
"A wolf skin was hairy on the outside. His on the inside."