The White Devil is one of the most-studied of non-Shakespearean Renaissance plays. Its fundamental concerns resonate powerfully with a wide range of current critical interests. As a play centred on the life of a notorious woman, and a play that dramatises adultery, betrayal, and domestic violence, The White Devil has a great deal to tell us about representations of gender, sexuality, and sexual violence in the early modern period. It also closely engages issues of law and constitutes an extended meditation on courts and court politics and opens up vital questions about religion and religious controversy in post-Reformation England.
Issues of text, performance, theatre, and criticism come together in a comprehensive critical introduction which brings the life of the play into focus, exploring the energy that has impelled audiences and scholars to return to it again and again across nearly four centuries.