The Duchess of Malfi - John Webster
I read this in high school, reread it recently, and finally appreciated just why it was truly radical in its day. It scathingly questions convention, morality, and hypocrisy. Clearly, Webster suggests that the title character is the only person in the play who didn't do anything wrong, even though other characters think she is a bad woman for marrying for love (below her station), and actually proposing marriage to the man she wants. Compare this with the treachery, venality, and violence of the rest of the court, including the protagonist Bosola. What an antihero -- a murderer-for-hire as protagonist?? It would take a skillful actor to keep the audience interested in, if not sympathetic to, this character; walking the line between appreciating his blunt cynicism, but frustrated at his refusal to refrain from doing things he claims to abhor -- he says he has no choice, but that isn't always believable. Anyway, good fodder for discussion.