Family Hour

In the interest of broadening my horizons, I’ve spent Oscar month away from movies and reading classic plays, instead. I’m not sure that the experience has been enlightening.

Today I wrapped up with “The Duchess of Malfi”, by English playwright John Webster (written circa 1613). I’m not quite sure what to think. During the course of the play we experience:

  • Four stranglings (the Duchess, her servant, and her two youngest children);
  • Four fatal stabbings (the Duchess’ two brothers, her lover, and her murderer);
  • One case of lycanthrophy (the Duchess’ brother);
  • One poisoning, the result of kissing a specially treated Bible (the mistress of the Duchess’ non-werewolf brother, a Cardinal);
  • A waxwork representation of the Duchess’ lover and children, posed as though murdered (used to torment the Duchess, by her brother);
  • A entire palace full of madmen (also brought there to torment the Duchess, again by her brother); and
  • One ghost.
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