John Webster Writing Styles in The White Devil

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Revenge Tragedy

The Revenge Tragedy was a popular genre of drama during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy is one of the earliest examples of this type of play. Likewise, William Shakespeare's Hamlet has often been considered a revenge tragedy. According to William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman in their book A Handbook to Literature, revenge tragedies generally include the revenge of a father for his son, or vice versa, often directed by a ghost. Other characteristics may include insanity, suicide, intrigue, sensational horror, and a scheming villain.

Webster plays with these conventions in The White Devil. Vittoria, Flamineo, and Bracciano are responsible for the deaths of Isabella and Camillo, and the revenge perpetrated on the threesome is not by fathers or sons. Rather, the entire revenge tragedy motif is a study of lust and sexuality. The original set of murders takes place because of...

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This section contains 564 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The White Devil Study Guide
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Drama for Students
The White Devil from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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