Study Guide

The Duchess of Malfi Act 2, Scene 2

By John Webster

Act 2, Scene 2

  • Bosola's musing over what's happened, now totally sure that the Duchess is giving birth.
  • He occupies himself by being rude to the old lady again (seriously, Bosola needs a time-out for the way he treats this woman) for a little while until Antonio comes in, ordering some other courtiers.
  • Antonio gathers all of the officers together and tells them that he wants the court gates shut up and all of the officers locked in their chambers.
  • Antonio tells the officers that the Duchess is really sick in her room, but that somebody has stolen a lot of her jewelry and money so she wants to have the officers locked up and to be given the keys to their personal chests.
  • Afterwards, Antonio secretly tells Delio that the Duchess is giving birth, and that he needs Delio to ride to Rome ASAP. Why? Not clear. Perhaps to check on the evil brothers?
  • Cariola comes in: "congrats, Antonio, it's a boy!"
  • In his first thirty seconds of fatherhood, Antonio does the natural thing: goes to get a horoscope for his newborn son.

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