Study Guide

The Duchess of Malfi Act 3, Scene 4

By John Webster

Act 3, Scene 4

  • We're at Loretto, where Bosola advised the Duchess travel, watching two pilgrims as they watch the Cardinal undergo the ceremony for transforming into a soldier.
  • They continue to watch as the Duchess, Antonio, and their kids are brought forward and banished from Ancona by the Cardinal.
  • The pilgrims muse that Cardinal is being way harsh here.
  • Actually, given that the Duchess is a prince, how can anybody banish her?
  • Well, Ancona's one of the papal states, so the Cardinal, as a representative of the Catholic church, can go to the Pope, claiming, "oooh, she's all sinful and sex-having, I simply can't abide this ungodliness" and have her banished.
  • The pilgrims still think it's unjust and nasty, especially that part where the Cardinal ripped off her wedding ring.

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