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Incest is sexual activity between family members or close relatives

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But this sounds unconvincing, as Malfi is little more than a poor fishing village. Moments such as these in the play have led it to be criticised for its plot, and it has other flaws. For example is it plausible that the Duchess could marry Antonio and have children in secret? Webster tends to neglect the importance of The Duchess' sons, and in Act 5 we see Delio apparently with a false heir.

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Essays on Early 17th Century English Literature

Celie, a young black woman, endured many hardships reflective of the time period including racism, oppression, and sexism but remained strong in her faith in God and overcame these obstacles to show the quiet strength of a woman....

Incest was widely used as a theme in Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, Shakespeare's Hamlet (1600) and Beaumont and Fletcher's A King And No King (1611) being examples which Webster may have had in mind whilst writing The Duchess of Malfi (1614). The brother-sister incest theme was also take up later, spectacularly, by John Ford in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (1633).