The Duchess of Malfi Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe what the reader first knows about the Duchess.

We learn that she is beautiful, good, and noble. We learn that she feels like she is imposing on people by talking, but that people love to hear her talk. We also learn that she is good, unlike her brothers.

2. Is the Cardinal well respected by Bosola? Why or why not?

No. Bosola doesn't like him, because the Cardinal let him be imprisoned for a crime the Cardinal paid him to commit. Bosola also dislikes the fact that the Cardinal lectures him about honesty when he is a dishonest man himself.

3. What does the Duchess think of her brothers at the beginning of the play?

The Duchess trusts her brothers, and is unaware of their scheming nature. This is shown by her complete faith in Ferdinand's recommendation to hire Bosola, and she never suspects that Bosola is going to spy on her.

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