English 205:
Discussion Question 7

Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
Milton,
Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Defoe, Roxana

Directions: After reading the lecture, answer the question below. This answer is due no later than Thursday, Nov. 16.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Sunday, Nov. 19. Remember: in order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 2 other people's postings.

This discussion question is worth a possible 20 points. Late answers receive 0 points, so post early :)

More details, with sample questions and answers, can be found on the Discussion Board itself, under the heading "Info on Discussion Questions." Please read this carefully so you know how to get the most points for the discussions.

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board


Just answer one of the following questions.

1. By the end of The Duchess of Malfi, has Bosola redeemed himself? Explain your answer, using specific examples from the play.

2. How does the play, The Duchess of Malfi, explore the theme of "imprisonment"?

3. Some critics have argued that Milton creates too much sympathy for Satan, making it difficult for a reader of Paradise Lost to see him as wholly evil. Do you agree? Explain.

4. The Archangel Michael, in Book 12, rebukes Adam for asking too many questions, telling him that there are certain realms of knowledge that are God's alone, not for man to know. And Eve is tempted not by the apple per se, but by knowledge. Is Milton arguing that knowledge is bad, and that ignorance is bliss?

5. Locke himself believed firmly in God; in fact, in Two Treatises of Government, he says that atheism is a terrible thing, since it is a threat to social order. Ironically, a number of 20th century readers have seen Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding as a foundation for arguments that there is no God. How could Locke's ideas be used to make a case for atheism? Give specific quotes from the Essay to support your points.

6. In this excerpt of Roxana, what are Roxana's arguments against marriage? Later she says that, in winning the argument, she has outwitted herself; does Defoe, then, intend that her arguments should be discredited? Or does he intend for us to see them as legitimate?


For further information on these works, see the Links page.