The evils of greed and ambition overwhelm love, innocence, and the bonds of kinship in this dark tragedy, first presented circa 1613. John Webster's great Jacobean drama focuses on a secret marriage that strikes the disastrous spark to an inferno of violence. When the Duchess of Malfi marries Antonio, a household steward, her two fiendishly jealous brothers ? hoping to inherit her title and estates ? plant a household spy whose treachery leads to a bloody and horrifying climax. Often compared to Shakespeare in terms of his dynamic plots and poetic lyricism, Webster created radical, profoundly original works that feature shifting perspectives and thought-provoking challenges to conventional moral judgments.