The Influence of Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy on Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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The influence of Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy is seen throughout the use the ghost in Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. This scene marks the beginning of Hamlet's action towards revenge. Through the allusions of Greek mythology, death and revenge, Elizabethan tragedy is displayed in both dialogues. The ghost present in both plays fit the what the Elizabethans held about superstition.
Depicted by Shakespeare and Kyd, the theme of revenge correlates between both ghosts' monologues. Both of their objectives are set on seeking retribution for a relative. Old Hamlet appears to his son with the intent of setting him in action to avenge his death. Don Andrea focuses on his after-life while Old Hamlet focuses on how he died. He finally sets Hamlet in motion to seek revenge. The ghost that meets Hamlet reveals as to why he appears but speaks only to him. It is to "revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" (1.5.25). The repetitive use of the word 'unnatural' between Hamlet and the ghost shows how urgent the issue has become. By going into excruciating detail of his murder, it pulls on the heart strings of Hamlet. It lights a fire in him to become his father's avenger.
Don Andrea's detailed description of his soul's passage in the underworld, he wants help is plotting for appropriate revenge. He wishes to seek revenge against his murder, causing the eternal separation of he and his "worthy dame" (1.1.10), Bel-imperia by "forcing divorce betwixt my love and me...When I was slain, my soul descended straight,/ To pass the flowing stream of Acheron"(14, 18-19). According to Clark, "Ghosts were thought to appear exact justice, to revenge a foul deed" (100). Both of them rise from purgatory to do exactly that.
The allusions of Gre...

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...tion. Through the ghost's revelation for Hamlet to seek revenge, Greek mythology plays an important role by linking the two plays together. Through the themes of revenge, deceit, and loss, they are able to relay their messages to receive the outcome desired. Although the ghost in Hamlet has been murdered before the play and Andrea's murder creates the plot's motivation, revenge becomes evident. Avenging their unnatural death to rest in peace can only be achieved through the immediate action.

Works Cited

Cumberland, Clark. "The Supernatural in Hamlet." Readings on Hamlet. By Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1999. 99-105. Print.
Kyd, Thomas. "The Spanish Tragedy: Ghost's Monologue." The Spanish Tragedy: Ghost's Monologue. N.p., 2003. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square, 2002. Print.
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