Top positive review
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Hell is murky
on 24 December 2003
The two tragedies in this collection (which also contains "The Devil's Law Case") are Webster at his finest, and "The Duchess of Malfi" stands as an unquestionable classic.
The language is almost fetid in its power, dank with atmosphere and bestial allusions and it tells a story of the Duchess whose two brothers choose to destroy her rather than allow her to remarry. The play ends in madness, death and mistaken murders, amidst a whelter of confusion, regret and betrayal. Redemption seems a far more remote prospect in Webster's tragedies than it does in Shakespeare's, and these tragedies are more muscular, dirtier and bestial than Shakespeare's work. Definitely needs to be read by anyone who has an interest in drama and literature, and those who like a corking good story.