- According to her "Introductory Discourse," what does Baillie see as the chief human interest? What were Baillie's aims in writing tragedy?
- To what social class does she believe contemporary drama appeals? What does she intend as the special features of De Monfort?
- What aspects of her drama seem new, in their context? Does her work resemble other writings from the Romantic period you have read? (e. g. The Heart of Midlothian, Wordworth's "Lyrical Ballads")
- To which earlier works does this drama seem indebted? Do you recognize motifs from Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus or Shakespeare?
- What seem to be some basic themes of the play? How does the play deal with issues of class? What importance do servants have in this play?
- Does this play have gothic elements? Is the German setting significant? Would you describe De Monfort as a study in criminal psychology? A study of a depressive temperament?
- How does the play deal with issues of gender? How are aristocratic concerns with formality and dress treated?
- How does the play present themes of masking and disguise? competitiveness? hypocrisy and social tensions?
- Are there elements of irony in this drama? Of comedy? Of irony and significant coincidence?
- What do you make of De Monfort's attachment to his sister and jealousy lest she respond to the attentions of Rezenvelt?
Act 1: What do we learn about De Monfort from his servants and attendants? What moods does he exhibit and how do these change? What is Rezenvelt's behavior to him?
Do you think De Monfort is correct in interpreting Rezenvelt's polite statements as sarcastic? Why has he visited the Count Freberg's residence?
What sources of disagreement do Count and Countess Freberg seem to have? With whom do you think Baillie sides?
Act 2: How do we learn about Jane De Monfort, and which of her traits are described? What contrasts are made between her and the Lady Freberg?
What motives does Jane give for attending the dance in disguise?
On what grounds does Rezenvelt criticize his fellow attenders at the dance? What is the significance of his attraction to Jane? How does Jane respond to his interest?
What advice does De Monfort give his veiled sister? What ironies occur in the interview between De Monfort and the disguised Jane?
What are the grounds of quarrel between Rezenvelt and De Monfort, and how do Count Freberg and Jane attempt to promote peace?
What does De Monfort confess to his sister is the source of his distemper? What aspects of Rezenvelt's temper had alienated him, and what episode galled him?
What is her reaction? What occupations does she offer to share to soothe his temper? Are there elements of foreshadowing in this scene?
What ill purpose does the Countess Freberg's jealousy produce?
Act 3: How does the attempted reconciliation promoted by Jane and Count Freberg backfire? When Count Freberg and Resenvelt discuss the incident later, to what does Rezenfelt describe De Monfort's enmity? What warnings does Count Freberg offer, and why does Rezenfelt consider them unnecessary?
What do we learn about De Monfort's mental state from his reaction to Grimbald's request? What is the effect on him of the gossip relayed by Grimbald, that Rezenvelt will marry his sister?
What does his treatment of Jerome and Manuel reveal about his mental state? How does he respond to Rezenvelt's entrance, and what is Rezenvelt's response? Do you think Rezenvelt was wise to start a journey across the night wilds?
Act 4: What is the effect of framing the murder with the account of the convent burial service? What function do the monks and nuns serve in this and the following scenes? What testimony do they bear to De Monfort's mental state? What is De Monfort's state of mind before and after he commits murder? Why does he fear being left alone? What motivates his attempted suicide?
Act 5: What does De Monfort feel has happened to him after the murder? How does Jane behave in their final interview? What does he learn about her feelings for Rezenvelt? What is the effect of his final farewell to his sister?What causes De Monfort's death? Is this an appropriate ending? What observations do Count Freberg and Bernard make over the dead bodies? What has happened to De Monfort's hair?What does Jane grieve most in her brother's death? What are her concerns in the final scene? How will De Monfort be buried?In what way does the final act provide closure? Does the ending provide catharsis? Does the reader feel "pity and terror" (Aristotle) at the fate of De Monfort?