Vittoria Corombona in the White Devil

1021 Words5 Pages
Some have seen Vittoria as innocent and unjustly accused. Others as a calculating, confident manipulator of the truth. How do you view Vittoria’s position in the trial scene? Vittoria Corombona is a descendant of the honourable Venetian family, Vitelli. Her actions ultimately lead to the murder of her first husband Camillo, her sexual presence and beauty creating jealousy and envy in the men that meet her. Vittoria is not an innocent character, but she is a product of women’s social limitations in the patriarchal society Webster has chosen to set the play in. Vittoria is undoubtedly the central character of the novel, the events throughout are as a result of her liaison with Brachiano, sparking a journey of murder and treachery. The title of the book ‘The White Devil’ describes Vittoria well, and helps display that she is not an innocent character. Being compared to the devil in a novel set in a heavily catholic country shows that she is evil, and the subtitle ‘The Tragedy of Paulo Giordano Ursini, Duke of Brachiano, With the Life and Death of Vittoria Corombona the famous Venetian Curtizan’ supports this. The fact that she is a ‘famous curtizan’ supports the idea that she is to blame for the events in the novel, as it is her promiscuity that causes the murders of so many, sparked by jealously in Brachiano. Vittoria is immediately at a disadvantage in the novel and entering the trial however. She is not even given the grace of being the centre of focus in the subtitle, added on at the end almost as if her presence is an afterthought by Webster. This shows how she is handicapped by the fact that she is a woman, in a society controlled by men. Her arrest is not justified by any suspicion; instead she is arrested simply by default after the murder of her husband, Camillo. In her trial Vittoria is similarly scolded by her social superiors for her ‘lavish
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