The White Devil

Complications of a Fallen World: Comparing The White Devil and Paradise Lost 12th Grade

Webster’s presentation of the fallen world in Act V of The White Devil appears as a more developed and grander reflection of Milton’s fallen world in Book IX of Paradise Lost. Milton’s outstanding attributes of the fallen world are developed by Webster in his presentation of evil characters who, being part of a fallen society, display the same characteristics as the post-fall Adam and Eve at the end of Book IX – mirroring the darker emotional development of the pair, undergoing a transition from blissful innocence to uncontrollable greed, lustful desire and falsity. However, though Milton’s protagonists must undergo a fall in order to understand the knowledge of evil, those in Webster’s The White Devil are already fallen and possess this knowledge in excess, creating a farcical accentuation of the already established attributes to a fallen being – as Webster’s characters not only possess these traits but actually become representative of them thematically. Webster’s characterisation in The White Devil is based upon the sins committed by the fallen Adam and Eve, yet he accentuates them to make his fallen world seem obsessive over these sinful traits. Webster too, like Milton, uses his work in order to emphasise the corruption of...

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