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Bosola is one of the famous character  most complicated and complex of the male characters in The Duchess of Malfi. He mainly plays three roles in this play: 

(i) malcontent meditator. 

(ii) villainous tool and 

(iii) an avenger, all in one. 

Bosola wanted to be a scholar but circumstances did not permit him. Instead he fell in the hands of the crooked Ferdinand and Cardinal, who make him their tool of villairiy. Bosola is a malcontent who is dissatisfied with world and with life. He makes bitter comments on courts and thinks that courts are like beds of hospital. He also compares human life with beast. His reflection on life are gloomy and pessimistic: 

O, this gloomy world; In what a shadow, or deep pit of darkness, Doth womanish and fearful mankind live. 

The role of Bosola in the play is that of a villain. He is a typical Machiavellian villain so common in the Elizabethan and the Jacobean tragedy. He was appointed as a spy to keep vigilant eye on the activities of the Duchess. He cunningly detects the secret marriage of the Duchess and informs it to her brothers. Under the instructions of her brother, Bosola arrested her and tortured her disguised as an old tomb-maker, and later makes her killed by strangling. 

But Bosola is not a thoughtless villain. He is different from the Machiavellian characters. He had some goodness in him. The sight of the terrible death of the Duchess awakens the goodman in him. He is gripped by remorse and takes revenge by killing Ferdinand and the Cardinal. After the death of the Duchess, he suffers from hellish torments and gives her dead body to a woman for proper burial. He wanted to save Antonio’s life, but he kills him (A) out of mistake. At the end he receives death wound while taking revenge on the two brothers, 

To conclude, the character of Bosola is a very like that of a Machiavellian villain. If he had not been refused to gold, he would not be changed. He changed only because he is deprived of a material prosperity. Thus he is a Machiavellian character with a difference, 


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