Act 1, Scene 1
* The play opens in the Duchess's palace, and most of the major characters are introduced. Delio welcomes his good friend, Antonio upon his return from France.
* Bosola enters with the Cardinal, pestering him for payment. He complains to Antonio and Delio that the Cardinal and his brother are rich and corrupt.
* Delio tells Antonio that it is rumored Bosola served time for a murder ordered by the Cardinal.
* The Duchess enters. Antonio describes her as an honest, kind woman, who is also a beautiful young widow.
* Ferdinand suggests that the Duchess hire Bosola. He admits to the Cardinal his intention of having Bosola spy on the Duchess, reporting any potential suitors. The brothers intend to keep her from remarrying.
Act 1, Scene 2
* The Cardinal and Ferdinand are departing. They tell the Duchess that she cannot marry again.
* When the Duchess accuses Ferdinand of having rehearsed this warning...
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