John Webster

In the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, a young boy seen feeding a live mouse to a cat identifies himself as John Webster (1580-1634). When Will Shakespeare asks the boy what he thought of Titus Andronicus, Webster replies, "I like it when they cut the heads off. And the daughter mutilated with knivesā€¦ Plenty of blood. That's the only writing." While hyperbolic, Hollywood, and of course fictional, the joke about the budding playwright John Webster is grounded in reality. His plays would introduce a new grittiness to the English stage. He was a playwright unafraid to grapple with the darker sides of mankind: whether in The White Devil (1612) or The Duchess of Malfi (1614), Webster was willing to deal out gruesome ends to his characters. The White Devil tells the story of the affair between the Duke of Brachiano and Vittoria Corombona (both married to other people), encouraged by the pandering of Vittoria's brother Flamineo. Brachiano has his wife and Vittoria's husband murdered, and Vittoria is tried for the murder of her husband and sent to a convent for penitent whores. The banished Count Lodovico, in love with Brachiano's now dead wife, returns and avenges her death with an...
Read the essay: John Webster: A Darker Playwright for Renaissance England by Kate O'Connor
# Title Description Contributor
1 The Duchess of Malfi: John Webster

In dramatizing a woman's sexual choices in a notably sympathetic manner, this tragedy...

Emma Smith
# Title Description Author
1 The White Devil, or the Life and Death of Vittoria Corombona John Webster
2 Love's graduate : a comedy

Extracted by Spring Rice from "Cure for a cuckold" by John Webster and William Rowley, with the...

John Webster
# Essay Title Description Contributor
1 John Webster: A Darker Playwright for Renaissance England

In the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, a young boy seen feeding a live mouse to a cat...

Kate O'Connor
2 English Renaissance Timeline: Some Historical and Cultural Dates

This list offers an overview of some historical and cultural dates from the English Renaissance...

Kate O'Connor
3 Renaissance Theatre

By Emma Smith

Emma Smith
# Resource Title Description Contributor
1 Course: John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

An Open University course.

Description: "This unit concentrates on Acts 1 and 2 of John...

Open University