Webster's Imagery in the Duchess of Mailfi

695 Words3 Pages
John Webster, a well-known playwright and dramatist is especially known for his brilliant work like "The Duchess of Malfi" and "The White Devil" famous for his grotesque imagery and macabre logic of writing, he takes his audience into a gritty and grim voyage to a world littered with corpses, death and blood. There is intense realism in his writing embellished with the imaginative use of words. It can be categorized into sententious writing using motifs of tempests and darkness to glorify its very essential impulses. In ''The Duchess of Malfi'' published in 1623 he has created a world of negativity, shifting allegiances and suspicious underlying motives. Bosola, the spy villain calls this world a "sensible hell" which implies a paradoxical state of being and evil generates evil and there is no mutual reciprocity of good and evil. To substantiate his caustic views Webster uses stark, poignant images of misery and hardships ("I am armed gainst misery") blood-lust, the digging up of graves by Ferdinand and cupping glasses. What is common in all these images is that there is a sense of mystery, secrecy and devilish nuances. He has also dealt with the themes of incest, lycanthropy and madness as subtexts to his main plot structure. He can be contrasted with Shakespeare in his work "The Italian Werewolf" where the wolf frequently appears on stage. David Cecil remarks that Webster presents us with a world that is between good and bad and in this lifetime at least he presents the evil to be more powerful. The power of his imagery also showcases his literary talent since he is able to present to the reader characters like Bosola, who is the malcontent and is heterogeneous for his motives and the duchess who neither seems to conform nor assert. These are characters we can neither approve of nor dismiss. His handling of plot structure is also remarkable since it moves
Open Document