The Duchess of Malfi Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who does the Cardinal hire to spy on the Duchess?

2. What is the Duchess supposed to do with the item Ferdinand gives her?

3. What two main characters are wandering around the palace in Act 2, Scene 3?

4. Before the play begins, the Cardinal and Bosola knew each other because:

5. How does Delio react to Antonio's secret?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why doesn't anyone intervene with Ferdinand and the Cardinal's plans to punish the Duchess?

2. How does Bosola find out that the Cardinal was behind the scheme to kill the Duchess?

3. What can a reader learn about Antonio in just the first scene?

4. What unique literary device does Webster use to convey what is happening when the Cardinal resigns?

5. Was the fruit Bosola gave the Duchess really poisoned?

6. How does Delio show his support and friendship to Antonio before Antonio leaves to demand a reconciliation with the Cardinal?

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

8. Why does Julia leaves so quickly after hearing that Ferdinand has been upset by a letter?

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

10. What does the Cardinal take violently from the Duchess? What does this tell us of his intentions?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How might the play would have been different if Bosola had, in fact, spared the Duchess's life and sent her away to sanctuary? Would Ferdinand still have wanted this without having seen her dead body? Write an alternate ending, of at least 4 paragraphs, that considers what might have happened if Bosola had made this decision.

Essay Topic 2

Poison, and poisoned objects, make an appearance several times throughout the play. Citing three examples, how do you think Webster is using poison as a literary device? What is poison supposed to symbolize, and what message is Webster trying to convey with it?

Essay Topic 3

What literary devices does the author use to convey things about the characters within the first few scenes of the play? Thinking about the way Webster uses characters, foreshadowing, and dialogue, pick 3 characters, and describe how these devices help the reader know more about the characters and what is going to happen later in the play.

(see the answer keys)

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