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The plays of Jacobean dramatist John Webster are masterpieces of early seventeenth-century English theatre. ‘The White Devil’ depicts a dark, sinister world of duplicity, intrigue and murderous infidelity, while ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ tells the macabre story of a woman who marries beneath herself and sets in motion a terrible cycle of violence. Unlike these revenge tragedies, ‘The Devil’s Law-Case’ asserts social order in a plot filled with twists of fate. Written at a time when the court of King James was rife with instability and corruption, Webster’s disturbing plays reflect this abuse of power and are known for their horrific vision of humanity – yet they are also some of the most rich, sophisticated dramas ever composed.
- Penguin Books Ltd, July 1975
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