The White Devil Is Nothing More Than a Demonstration of Imaginative Ways to Commit Murder’ How Do You Comment on This Judgement?

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‘The White Devil is nothing more than a demonstration of imaginative ways to commit murder’ How do you comment on this judgement? In the White Devil, murderous plots and deadly scheming dominate the play, with the story revolving around the various motives and actions towards the murder of husbands, wives and brothers. However, to see the play as merely a vehicle for Webster’s fatal imaginings would be overly simplistic, and would overlook vast swathes of a play that, behind the murders, pivots on desire, love and intrigue, rather than plain bloodlust. The fact that the characters in the play are not designed to be consumed by murderous desires is apparent when Cornelia questions, ‘What? Because we are poor, shall we be vicious?’, illustrating clearly her belief that murder or violence is not the correct or dignified way of conducting oneself. This realisation by at least some of the characters that violence is not the only way of achieving goals is pivotal to understanding whether or not the White Devil is indeed nothing more than a demonstration of imaginative ways to commit murder, as Cornelia’s sarcastic exclamation heavily implies that other characters do act without a need for violence, therefore exemplifying that The White Devil is more than just a vehicle for violence. However, even though this non-violent existence is present is the play, it can be claimed that the sheer volume of murders is paramount to a piece that is obsessed with imaginative murders. The simple fact that seven murders occur throughout the play is an obvious suggestion that Webster did in fact write the play as a means to demonstrate his murderously imaginative mind. On the other hand, this argument falls apart when you more closely examine both the question and The White Devil. The statement that pre-empts the question claims that the play is notable for the imaginative
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