The Duchess of Malfi

Bosola and Antonio: Preferment and Admission of Inferiority College

The Renaissance Era was a period when theatre, among other forms of art, bloomed in its adolescence, as it outgrew old, traditional characteristics of the Middle Ages, and gradually evolved into what would later become known as modern history. Unlike tragedies of previous eras – which depended highly on one fatal flaw of the protagonists to lead them to perpetual torment – tragedies of the Renaissance age saw a great shift in the complexities of the characters in a play, as the period was highly influenced by humanism. Characters were no longer ‘flat’ but ‘dynamic’, thus, resembling that of real-life individuals more accurately than before. With such shifts in characterization, themes and conflicts in theatre consequently underwent similar developments from being plain and straightforward, to thought-provoking and relatable. One such thought-provoking and relatable theme found in The Duchess of Malfi is the concept of inferiority and its necessity for advancing in society; a concept which can be identified and explored through the characters Bosola and Antonio.

Cunning, malcontent, and vengeful Bosola is the catalyst to the tragedies which befall the Duchess and her family. From the very first act, Bosola is introduced as an...

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