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Gunnar Boklund’s sensitive study of The Duchess of Malfi begins with an examination of Webster’s historical sources and of the earlier artistic treatments of the story. Secondary parallels in such writers as Sidney, Herodotus, and Cinthio are discussed. The author shows how Webster exploited the characters’ psychological potential and how he shaped the incidents to form a powerful dramatic structure within the Elizabethan convention. Webster’s use of horror scenes and the question of his intended audience effect are perceptively discussed, and the book ends with a thoughtful analysis of the play’s ultimate artistic value.