The Duchess of Malfi - Study Guide

The Duchess of Malfi takes place in Italy, mostly at the Duchess’s palace in Malfi, in the sixteenth century. The Duchess is a young widow whose two brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, are visiting her from Rome at the play’s start. Antonio, the manager of her household, has just returned from France. Before leaving the Duchess, Ferdinand engages Bosola, previously used by the Cardinal as a hit man, to ostensibly manage the Duchess’s horses, but in reality to spy on her for the brothers so they can be sure she remains chaste and does not remarry.

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