A very proper young woman is horrified to discover not only that her mother once worked as a prostitute in order to support her, but that she later became a whorehouse madam rather than give up the business.
The Duchess of Malfi is recently widowed and her greedy brothers are determined she will not marry again, so they employ Daniel De Bosola, a murderer in their pay to spy on her. He fails and most of the cast pay for the brothers' plotting. One of the great revenge tragedies based on a true story, though John Webster, the playwright, probably didn't know this. Who would believe so much mayhem could happen, five hundred years before the Godfather?