The Duchess of Malfi – Monologue (Ferdinand)

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A monologue from the play by John Webster


Let me see her face again.
Why didst thou not pity her?
What an excellent honest man mightst thou have been,
If thou hadst borne her to some sanctuary.
Or, bold in a good cause, oppos’d thyself,
With thy advanced sword above thy head,
Between her innocence and my revenge.
I bade thee, when I was distracted of my wits,
Go kill my dearest friend, and thou hast done’t.
For let me but examine the cause:
What was the meanness of her match to me?
Only I must confess I had hope,
Had she continu’d widowed, to have gain’d
An infinite mass of treasure by her death.
And that was the main cause – her marriage –
That drew a stream of gall quite through my heart.
For thee, as we observe in tragedies
That a good actor many times is cursed
For playing a villain’s part, I hate thee for’t,
And, for my sake, say thou hast done much ill well.

Read the play here

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