Abstract

Abstract:

Critics have focused on two of John Webster's key innovations in The Duchess of Malfi: Duke Ferdinand's lycanthropy and his becoming the Duchess's twin. I turn to a third: why should the Duchess recall an "old tale" of "Alexander and Lodowicke," whereby a "naked sword" might separate her and her lover Antonio in their "marriage bed"? This last, however brief the mention, evokes a familiar tale of friendship between two men as like as identical twins. I follow the thread of lycanthropy, monstrosity, incestuous twins, and a "loving friendship" tying these three innovations together. Insertion of the "old tale" prompts us to reconfigure the play as a genera mixta, combining the motive of revenge with the plot of a friendship story given an unconventionally tragic turn.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 421-443
Launched on MUSE
2018-06-07
Open Access
No
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