AO5 – Explore literary texts informed by different interpretations.
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The Duchess of Malfi is a study of an emancipated widow that reflects the great social and political transitions found in Jacobean England. The Duchess's fight for autonomy and self-determination is, on the one hand, inspiring, yet given her ultimate failure, disheartening on the other. That the Duchess's life mirrors the plight of real seventeenth century women cannot be ignored, thus she serves not only as a role model, but also as a tragic reminder of the world in which she had to function. - Nanci Lamb Roider