Cardinal In The Duchess of Malfi
Purpose • The Cardinal seems to act as a counter point (see-saw) between the Duchess’ behavior and Ferdinand’s. He is neither pure like the Duchess (though he should be) nor is he highly emotional and unstable like Ferdinand. He is seen as a reasonable person within the play, and Antonio makes plans to talk to him about his marriage to the Duchess and smooth everything over. We know he’s not, but he acts as if he were a good man. • Cardinal is used as a calming force to Ferdinand’s rage. The two contrast and thus emphasis each other. Another contrast between the brothers is that Ferdinand shows the emotions he feels (rage, sorrow, regret) yet the Cardinal never shows any. Where Ferdinand shows signs of regret over his sister’s death through his madness, Cardinal only wants to not be caught. • Cardinal represents hypocrisy. He is meant to be a very religious man (high rank in the Catholic church), yet has a (married) mistress and deals in spying and murder.
Purpose cont. • He seems to have no religious duties, we never see him with a religious object until he poisons Julia with the Bible (come on, how symbolic can you get?). • As Antonio explains to Delio, "where he is jealous of any man, he lays worse plots for them than ever was imposed on Hercules, for he strews in his way flatterers, panders, intelligencers, atheists, and a thousand such political monsters." • The Cardinal also claims the Duchess tainting the family’s blood as the reason she needs to die, yet his last lines are "now, I pray, let me / Be laid by, and never thought of.” which shows he does not care about his legacy.
Characteristics • Cardinal is very cautious and calculating. He knows that Bosola is unlikely to work for him again after being imprisoned. Therefore he convinces Ferdinand to ask him to be a spy. 1.1 lines 215-220 • Cardinal knows a lot about people, he knows Antonio is “too honest for such business” when it comes to selecting a spy. He also knows that Julia is a gossip and untrustworthy when it comes to secrets. “The only way to make thee keep my counsel/ Is not to tell thee.” • “He is a melancholy man.” Antonio 1.1 line 153ish • Cardinal is also very reasoned in drama filled moments. When Julia is dead and Bosola is revealed in the cabinet. 5.2 lines 273-305 shows him go from surprised to calculating. He tries to find a way to quite Bosola and thinks he succeeds.
Characteristics cont. • Cardinal is concerned about image, when Ferdinand is being a crazy wolf man (5.2 until about lines 115) he comes up with a reason for Ferdinand’s madness; “there is seen the shape of an old woman... been murdered. [this caused Ferdinand to be] altered much in face and language.” • Cardinal is also anxious about blood lines and the ‘purity’ of this line. “Shall our blood,/ The royal blood of Aragon and Castile,/ Be thus attainted?” This is said when Ferdinand and Cardinal are discussing the rumours that the Duchess is a hoe. • More concerned with status than any actual ties of love to his sister the Duchess. 2.5 lines 30-35 Ferdinand says “I [will] have hewed her to pieces.” and Cardinal’s response does not tell him to not do this. • Cardinal also acts as a father figure, he is the oldest sibling so he is the ‘man of the house’ so to speak. He steps into the role of the Father most noticeably when him and Ferdinand are telling Duchess not to remarry. 1.1 lines 285 – 330. Here the Cardinals argument is very controlled and mature compared to when Ferdinand talks and uses spiteful imagery which comparatively, looks childish.
Characteristics cont. • Cardinal is in control throughout the play. His actions are very deliberate and help him to get what he wants. Bribes in the right places; “instead of coming to it [Cardinal status] by the primitive decency of the Church he did bestow bribes...” 1.1 line 160. • He loses control when he is dying and takes on female qualities of weakness. His death even reminds us of Cariola’s instead of the Duchess’ noble one. • Cariola tries every excuse to get out of being murdered whereas the Duchess calmly accepts the fact. 4.2 lines 190 – 240 • Cardinal also tries to escape death 5.6 lines 10-20 • Cardinal is manipulative. We know this as he has a married woman as his mistress (although she is a slut so maybe that didn’t take much manipulation). He gets Julia to ask Pescara for Antonios land, perhaps buying her silence? Speculation... 5.1 lines 25-30 = Julia showing Pescara letter from C. • Cardinal acts as a personification of the corrupt aristocracy/nobility by taking a mistress when he is ‘married to God’ and using bribes to get Bosola to kill the Duchess for him, and bribes to get him into the church. See quotes above on this slide
Change in the Cardinal • The Cardinal as a character changes very little, and maintains a steely, somewhat masked persona throughout the play. His emotions are scarcely expressed, and while Ferdinand has moments of intense emotion, the Cardinal is often unreadable, seemingly removed - perhaps making him more twisted than Ferdinand, who does ultimately experience somewhat of a realization. Confrontation with death is the first time any kind of recognizable emotion is seen, and the mask he wears is lifted in this moment to reveal the real man; weak and scared, crying out for help. He then dies with the words "now, I pray, let me / Be laid by, and never thought of."
Change cont. • Interestingly, this is how the Cardinal journeys through the play. He is rarely in the limelight, but in fact is a major driving force behind the Duchess’ murder. He keeps up an oblivious, uninvolved image when in reality he is very much at fault. The importance of the Cardinal’s lack of psychological growth is that he remains a constant, shady force, serving as fuel to Ferdinand’s fire while remaining icy cool. He finds no moral like Bosola, and seems resigned to his emotionless, unreadable self.
Change cont. • He shares Ferdinand's desire that the Duchess not marry, and Ferdinand's anger when she bears a child, but he "can be angry / Without this rupture" of "intemperate noise." He demonstrates no love or loyalty, treating with startling coldness Bosola, who killed and was punished in his employment, Julia, his mistress, and the Duchess and Ferdinand, his siblings. His motives for tormenting his sister are not clear. He does not want her money or her love, and he is incapable of feeling humiliation or shame. He does not care for his reputation or legacy, as his dying words suggest.
INTRODUCTION TO CARDIE: • Before the introduction of the Cardinal in a brief but informing encounter with Bosola, Antonio and Delio are having a conversation in which there is much foreshadowing in regards to the theme of corruption and noble duty. In this case this conversation and technique of foreshadowing is quite appropriate in setting the scene for the entrance of the Cardinal, as though he is an important member of the Church he uses utilitarian tactics to get what he wants, entailing corruption and lack of nobility on his part (in contrast to the Duchess). • The Cardinal is introduced in association with the character of Bosola, whom, in this brief encounter, makes it apparent that he has previously been hired by the Cardinal to do some shady deeds for him. First impressions are most important, and the first impression the reader gains of the Cardinal does not add up to the usual expectations of a pious, virtuous man of the Church- our first impression of the Cardinal in fact, is the complete opposite. As Bosola says of the Cardinal and Ferdinand: “he and his brother are like plum trees, that grow crooked over standing pools, they are rich, and o’er laden with fruit, but none but crows, pies and caterpillars feed on them”. This shows clearly his low opinion of them and their literally rotten nature that hides behind the “glory of rank” or in the Cardinal’s case, the sanctity of the Church.
What are his actions? • The Cardinal teams up with Ferdinand to talk the Duchess and forbid her to get married again; however the Duchess picks up on the rehearsed nature of the speech (Ferdinand- “such weddings may more properly be said to be executed, than celebrated” Cardinal- “the marriage night is the entrance into some prison”). • the Cardinal is also having an illicit affair with Julia, a married woman (Castruchio). The Cardinal is quite forceful with her in the sense that he reminds her she is a woman and outs her “in her place” :” do not put thyself to such torture, which proceeds from your own guilt…a man might strive to make glass malleable (referring to women) ere he should make them fixed. Why do you weep? Are tears your justification? ”. He also says that she should feel guilty for cheating on her husband, seemingly forgetting that he is meant to be a man of virtue- this speaks plainly of his character.
What are his actions? • The Cardinal then conspires with Ferdinand to find out the husband or lover Duchess and kill her and him after they find out that she has married someone lower than her station and had children by him- “shall our blood? The royal blood of Aragon and Castile, be thus attainted?- this is quite hypocritical, as he is having an affair with Julia, and it is quite possible that she may be pregnant with his child.Though he conspires with Ferdinand, even he is shocked by the vehemence of Ferdinand’s speech and the sick, perverted hatred behind his words: “you show beyond your reason… how idly shows this rage! … yes, I can be angry without this rupture… come, put yourself in tune.. Are you stark mad?” (page 38-40 of old book,act4 scene 5) • (Silvio,act5 scene 3: “that Cardinal hath made more bad faces with his oppression than ever Michelangelo made good ones: he lifts up his nose, like a foul porpoise before a storm-”
What are his actions? • After he and Ferdinand find out that Antonio is the Duchess’ husband, they set out to kill him he also says “I will instantly solicit the state of Ancona to have them (Duchess and Antonio) banished”. This means that the Duchess would be stripped of her title and all of her land and wealth. • The Cardinal baby sits Ferdinand whilst he has gone mad; Ferdinand says a line that could be applicable to both brothers: (act5 scene2) “there is nothing left of you but tongue and belly, flattery and lechery”. • The Cardinal tries to blame both Bosola and Ferdinand for the murder of the Duchess “this fellow must not know by any means that I had intelligence in our Duchess’ death. For, though I councell’d it, the full of all the engagement seemed to grow from Ferdinand.” he then rejects Julia, who eventually turns to Bosola and is killed; the Cardinal has no emotional attachment to her whatsoever, and only pleads to save his own skin.
What are his actions? • The Cardinal helps Bosola hide the body of Julia and spread the rumor that she died of the plague. • In an ironic speech delivered directly before the entry of Bosola, the Cardinal, in an aside, says “about this hour I appointed Bosola to fetch the body: (of Julia) when he hath served my term, he dies” (scene4, act5). Bosola overhears this and says the lines: “we value not desert, nor Christian breath, when we know black deeds must be cured with death”. This is very applicable to the role of the cardinal in the play. • In scene5, the Cardinal enters and says “I am puzzled in a question about hell: He says in hell there’s one material fire, and yet is shall not burn all men alike..how tedious a guilty conscience!” this shows his realization of his own mortality and misdeeds. A confrontation between Bosola and the Cardinal ensues, and the Cardinal is slain in a pathetic attempt at pleading his case in order to stay alive. One of his last lines is: “Oh Justice: I suffer now for what hath former bin sorrow is held the eldest child of sin”. His death is a huge contrast to that of the noble and brave death of the Duchess as he pleads and grovels instead of holding his ground and dying a proud death.
Language Style - commands • Cardinal uses commands frequently throughout the play. This shows how he has become very accustomed to having power over people and having them do what he asks. • Our first glimpse of the Cardinal is him being demanding and upitty to Bosola. 1.1 lines 29-40. “You enforce your merits too much.” “Would you could become honest.” (ironic, Cardinal is very dishonest in the play - lies about Ferdinand’s madness and Julia’s death) • Then when Ferdinand and the Cardinal are telling the Duchess not to remarry, Ferdinand uses emotive language, getting carried away with him descriptions. Whereas the Cardinal uses solid commands; (1.1 lines 285-320) “No, nor with any thing without the addition, honour,/ Sway your high blood.”
Commands cont. • The Cardinals first word to Julia is an imperative; “Sit;...” (2.4 line 1). This shows his dominance over her and (depending on how this is portrayed in the play), her direct obedience or disobedience to his order. • Also in 5.2 (line 118) the Cardinal says to Julia “I am busy, leave me.” when all she wanted was to know if he was to have supper with him. He’s a bit of a prick really. • The Cardinal doesn’t just order Julia around. He also orders Bosola to “Take up that body.” (in reference to Julia’s body, 5.2 line 304
Language style cont. - Imagery • The Cardinal is one of the characters who uses the image of the tempest (which is a motif) a lot. This shows how he thinks of wild, natural occurrences that relate to people this shows how he is an animal-like character. The tempest lines are 2.5 line 16, 3.3 line 59 and probably a few more that I didn’t see... • He uses images of beasts when talking to Ferdinand (2.5) when he is in a rage about Duchess being called a strumpet. He says that the rage Ferdinand is showing is “deformed” and “beastly” unlike his own quiet rage (again showing how up himself he is line 57). • He uses an image of a deaf man who talks loudly to himself while under the belief that others are deaf also, about line 50, to describe Ferdinand’s ranting.