A New Devil: An Analysis of Character Shifts in a Production of Webster’s The White Devil

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Emaline Johnson


This essay focuses on the interpretation of characters in John Webster’s The White Devil, comparing how they were intended to how they are portrayed today in order to exemplify the changes in our society. The play has several misogynistic views that were acceptable and favored in the time they were written, but that are no longer laughed at or shrugged away. Characters who represent those views cannot be played in the same manner as before because the audience will not receive them as readily as they once did, and this leads to a completely different play. I examine the roles of Vittoria and Flamineo and how alterations (or lack thereof) to their characters can create a completely different, more empowering production of The White Devil.

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