John Marston: The Malcontent

(1640 words)
  • Rebecca Yearling (University of Keele)

John Marston’s The Malcontent is usually hailed by critics as his best play: a tragicomedy written for the boy actors of the Blackfriars Theatre in London, and first performed there in around 1603. The play is set in the corrupt court of Pietro, Duke of Genoa, where we are introduced to Malevole, the malcontent of the title. Malevole, however, is no ordinary malcontent: he soon reveals to the audience that he is really Altofront, the former Duke of Genoa. Before the play began, Altofront was deposed by Pietro, and his wife imprisoned. In this, Pietro was aided by the powerful Duke of Florence, whose daughter Aurelia is Pietro’s wife. Instead of accepting his banishment, Altofront has disguised himself in order to lurk about …

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Yearling, Rebecca. "The Malcontent". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 May 2013
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Revenge Tragedy