The Duchess of Malfi: Context, Themes and Questions

Advanced Learner Pack for AS / A Level

The Duchess of Malfi
Set text for:
  • OCR A Level
  • Edexcel AS and A Level
  • Eduqas A Level

Controversial subject matter, sinister villains and a powerful female tragic heroine make The Duchess of Malfi an extraordinary work among its Jacobean contemporaries.

With advanced learners at its core, this pack guides students through some of the key issues relating to the text, including its intriguing contexts, structure and themes, to uncover Webster’s dark moral universe, in which evil masquerades as good, and selfishness takes the face of honour.

Look out for!
  • Further reading suggestions
  • Key term boxes to encourage students to use sophisticated language

Comprehensive notes, questions and exam-preparation material investigating the influential contexts and themes of The Duchess of Malfi for a fuller, more sophisticated understanding. Pitched to the 2015 AS and A Level specifications, this pack will inspire your strongest students to go the extra mile in their journey towards exam success.

Pushing high achievers…
  • Informative notes encourage students to think independently about the core aspects of the play, including characters, form, genre and themes
  • Packed with questions to promote intelligent discussion – the perfect springboard for higher-level analysis
  • Suggestions for wider reading empower students to foster an individual critical stance towards the play
To reach those top marks!
  • Exam-style questions provide extensive practice for creative, unique responses
  • Higher-level sample answers with examiner commentary help students recognise what makes a good answer
  • Revision and exam tips help students focus answers to gain top marks
  • A carefully constructed historical timeline
  • Indicative content for all questions

What do teachers say about this resource? (11298)

There is a lot of good material in this resource and it is certainly pitched well... I particularly liked the very well researched and very detailed mini essays on all the themes and the literary facets of the play... This adds greatly to the study of the play and gives students a very broad understanding of the complexities of the play. I think this is the best part of the resource. It also bridges the gap between university and A Levels quite well. For our exam board Eduqas, it would be very useful as there is a requirement to add critical quotes and this would work very well in providing this... This will give the students are very good understanding of how this play fits in with the time period and the dramatic traditions on which it is founded... I envisaged using it in class by perhaps using small sections of the mini essays in the first half of the resource as discussion points for small group work where students could really look in detail at the critical essays... It would also work well as learning outside the classroom – possibly for all levels... I know it is aimed at higher level but there is such a wealth of resources and critical voices and activities, that all ability levels could take something from it... I did like the fact that questions throughout the resources had an answer at the end - they were quite open questions so that was good to see something that the students can check.

B Eve, Head of English & Peer Reviewer

I really enjoyed reading this resource: it was detailed and scholarly... Each of the separate sections gave an in-depth focus to one area of study that would give pupils all they would need to push and develop their knowledge further. The entire resource was aimed at stretching and developing the knowledge of the able pupil, and I particularly liked the way in which the resource as a whole succeeded in meeting this target... The educational value of this resource lies in the detailed content and the range of questions after each section that allowed pupils to interact with the content in that section and then also push their knowledge further through excellent, apposite and targeted questions. I also loved the Key Questions: it was useful to have these at the beginning to help structure your reading of the resource around certain key themes and ideas... Included some excellent critical perspectives that would be incredibly useful to push the most able pupils. I particularly liked the section at the end of the resource that explored how to respond to The Duchess of Malfi for the different specifications.

J Hathaway, Head of English & Peer Reviewer