Scene 2—Inside the same palace: Pescara, come to visit Ferdinand, is discussing his condition with the doctor, who believes Ferdinand may have lycanthropia : a condition whereby he believes he is a wolf. But the violence and horror scenes give it the touch it needs to be a revenge tragedy.
While violence was a common part of plays in the English Renaissance, Webster's are remarkable for the inventive and grotesque ways in which that violence is depicted. Antonio and Cariola leave to allow the Duchess to complete her night-time preparations, but she is not alone; Ferdinand sneaks in and startles her.
Brutal human impulses is the essential subject matter and it turns into complex, often deeply thought provoking aesthetic experiences. He wishes that he could undo what he has done and he decides to avenge the death of the Duchess.
Bosola, meanwhile, interrupts the Cardinal's private conference with news of his sister. This provokes her to suicide which the Duke wanted in the first place. The narrative should incorporate ghosts, skulls and madness.
Bandello says that the brothers arranged the kidnapping of the Duchess, her maid, and two of her three children by Antonio, all of whom were then murdered. Antonio and Delio hold their conversation, stepping to the background to watch as Bosola angrily tries to gain the Cardinal's pardon, speaking of the time he has spent in the galleys in penal servitude, and in the service of the Cardinal.
Based on Giovanna d'Aragona, Duchess of Amalfi.
The common and fundamental features of a revenge tragedy are 1 The motive of revenge, 2 Heaping of horror upon horror, 3 presence of the supernatural, 4 violent imagery 5 Bestial cruelty, 6 An avenging hero, often a rascally servant.
Cariola, the lady's maid, enters with good news once Antonio is alone—he is the father of a son. There is also a Machiavellian Malcontent, Bosola, a rascal who also indulges in satiric reflections on life.