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3. A Marriage in a Chamber: Antonio and the Duchess
About this Lecture
In this module, we focus on the characters of Antonio and the Duchess—both unusual characters who may by some lights do wrong, but who are shown to be good people, a loving couple, and parents who seek no-one’s harm. In particular, we explore the intricacies of marriage law—which is important in this play—as well as the ‘divided catastrophe’ of the Duchess and Antonio’s deaths.
In this course, Professor John Lennard explores John Webster’s masterpiece, the Duchess of Malfi. The course begins by thinking about John Webster himself, about whom we know very little, and the historical context for the play itself. After that, we think about five key characters in the play—the Cardinal and Ferdinand, Antonio and the Duchess, and Bosola. In the final module, we think about the staging of the Duchess of Malfi, focusing in particular on four recent productions—including the 2014 production at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, starring Gemma Arterton.
Born in Bristol, and educated at Oxford and St Louis, Dr John Lennard has taught English, American, and Commonwealth Literature in Cambridge, London, and Jamaica over more than twenty years. He has written two widely used textbooks (on poetry and drama) and monographs on Shakespeare, Paul Scott, Nabokov, and Faulkner, as well as two collections of essays on contemporary genre writers in crime, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. Enthusiastic, discursive, widely knowledgeable, and a demon for punctuation (on which he has also published extensively), he has been a popular Summer School Course Leader and lecturer for the Institute of Continuing Education since 1992.
Cite this Lecture
Lennard, J. (2018, August 15). Webster: The Duchess of Malfi - A Marriage in a Chamber: Antonio and the Duchess [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/webster-the-duchess-of-malfi/a-marriage-in-a-chamber-antonio-and-the-duchess
Lennard, J. "Webster: The Duchess of Malfi – A Marriage in a Chamber: Antonio and the Duchess." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/webster-the-duchess-of-malfi/a-marriage-in-a-chamber-antonio-and-the-duchess