AS level Explorative StudyCompare and Contrast the Presentation of Central Villains in Websters: The Duchess of Malfi and Shakespeares: Measure for Measure.

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Explorative Study Texts: The Duchess of Malfi, Written by John Webster, Edited by Brian Gibbons and Measure for measure, Written by William Shakespeare, Edited by Colin Gray Compare and Contrast the Presentation of Central Villains in Webster’s: ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ and Shakespeare’s: ‘Measure for Measure’. Throughout The Duchess of Malfi and Measure for Measure there are characters that play a villainous role. Ferdinand, Cardinal, Bosola, Angelo, and in my opinion the Duke, are all motivated by three of the seven deadly sins: greed, lust and vanity. They have heroic qualities and all have been corrupted in some way. They are corrupt because they have social status but then they abused this power. Furthermore, the villains in both The Duchess of Malfi and Measure for Measure have the characteristics of Machiavellian villains. Per contra, Angelo is not like the villains in The Duchess of Malfi because he does not have an assistant to help him and does not have a personal vendetta against another in the play. He just wants to eliminate crime but, eventually, contradicts his own laws he is enforcing by asking Isabella to give her body to him sexually to save her brother: ‘You must lay down the treasures of your body To this supposed, or else to let him suffer: What would you do?’ (Act 2 Scene iv) This quotation tells us that; females of that day and age would have done exactly what they were told to do, on command if told to. We can see this by looking at the language of this quotation. “You must ‘lay’ down the treasures of your body”, and “What would you do?” this is saying that you are a woman and it does not matter what you think because you have no say in the matter anyway. This distinguishes Angelo as a villain because of his lust for Isabella and

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