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The White Devil

John Webster

Book Overview: 

John Webster's The White Devil is a Jacobean revenge tragedy, replete with adultery, murder, ghosts, and violence. The Duke of Brachiano and Vittoria Corombona decide to kill their spouses, Isabella and Camillo, in order to be together, aided by the crafty and ambitious Flamineo, Vittoria's brother. Their actions prompt vows of revenge from Isabella's brother Francisco, the Duke of Florence, and Count Lodovico, who was secretly in love with her. The title refers to the early modern proverb that "the white devil is worse than the black," indicating the hypocrisy practiced by many of the characters in the play.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Exeunt Francisco, Monticelso, and Giovanni.
                                     Enter Isabella
  You are in health, we see.

Isab. And above health,
  To see my lord well.

Brach. So: I wonder much
  What amorous whirlwind hurried you to Rome.

Isab. Devotion, my lord.

Brach. Devotion!
  Is your soul charg'd with any grievous sin?

Isab. 'Tis burden'd with too many; and I think
  The oftener that we cast our reckonings up,
  Our sleep will be the sounder.

Brach. Take your chamber.

Isab. Nay, my dear lord, I w. . . Read More