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I don't make deals. Why would I? I'm in charge of it all.
~ The Duke

William Cavendish (better known as The Fifth Duke of Devonshire) is a real life British aristocrat and is what can be considered the main antagonist of the 2008 film The Duchess.

He was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, who also played Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter films, Amon Goeth in Schindler's List, Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon, Hades in Clash of the Titans, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, Victor Quartermaine in Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Dennis "Spider" Cleg in Spider, andRamses in Prince of Egypt.


In the film, Cavendish is portrayed as the bitter husband of the titular Duchess, Georgiana. He is also depicted as a shameless adulterer, cheating on his wife constantly. One of his extramarital conquests is Georgiana's best friend Bess. The main reason behind this affair, however, is so the Duke can get Bess' three sons and use them as trustful heirs in the future.

Georgiana then began her first affair in a fit of rage with later prime minister Charles Grey, an action in which the Duke disapprove by raping his own wife. After this event led to a son from the Duke and a son from Grey, William forces the duchess to end the relationship by threatening to end Grey's political career and forbid her from seeing her children. With the ending of the relationship, the Duke, Bess, and Georgiana live their lives in peace from years to come, as the children were given to the Grey's.

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