Notes on Act III, scene v
Banish'd Ancona?: Banish'd from Ancona?
lightens: fires like gunfire (or lightning); or lights (falls) upon
train: following of servants, most of whom have abandoned her
poor men: the few loyal ones who have stayed behind
buntings: young birds
fledg'd: have learned to fly
give o'er: once the doctor has his money, he gives the patient over to death.
right: quite, exactly
politic equivocation: scheming double talk
strew'd: covered (in order to hide)
circumvent: surround as in to trap
brothers: boldly Antonio calls them his brothers, whereas they do not consider his marriage to their sister legitimate.
proclaims: demonstrates your lowly birth
bottom: in one boat (don't put all your eggs in one basket)
in sunder: apart
out of frame: out of order
eternal church: heaven
cassia: bark that when crushed produces cinnamon
scourge: spin it by beating it with a stick
sound: measure the depths (as on a ship)
laurel: a laurel wreath was usually a symbol of victory
vizards: visors covering their faces
over-charg'd: fortune's wheel turns when over weighted with great men
counterfeits: only God should be able to break up a holy marriage (although she did not bother to seek the sanction of the church at the time)
whether is that note worse ... nets: which is worse? the sound which frightens the birds to flee danger, or the one that tempts them to come too close and be caught? Bosola suggests that the duchess pursued temptation rather than her brothers' warning, and so now pays the price.
o'er-charg'd: packed with too much gunpowder, causing it to explode
Charon: in Greek mythology, the boatman who ferries the dead across the river Styx to Hades.
counterfeit face: referring to the visor over his face, but also to his hypocrisy
dog-ship: as in "our lordship"
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