Revenge Tragedies: The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd Essay

Revenge Tragedies: The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd Essay

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Elizabethan Revenge
The Book of Exodus in the Holy Bible states that everyone should “give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”(NLT 21:23) in order for the world to be a fair place, and also so that everyone is punished properly for their wrongdoings. In the Elizabethan era, revenge is an extremely prevalent endeavor. It is almost as though they closely follow what the bible says about punishment and revenge in the Elizabethan theatre because specific incidents in revenge plays are nothing less than “eye for an eye”. There are very particular indications of what constitutes a revenge play, and The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd exemplifies those indications perfectly. The idea of revenge tragedies originated in ancient Greece, and they “dramatize the predicament of a wronged hero” which is not only what happens in The Spanish Tragedy, but also in Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Some critics may argue that only The Spanish Tragedy considered a “revenge tragedy”, but certain events in both tragedies constitute what makes a revenge play, especially The Spanish Tragedy. Although each of these plays are known as “revenge tragedy’s some argue that they have rules of their own, and don’t follow the rules of a “typical” revenge story.
With the theme of revenge being very popular in the Elizabethan era, play writers started to create storylines combining both tragedy and revenge which essentially created the precedent for the characteristics a revenge play would consist of. In order for a piece of work to be considered a revenge play, it would automatically need some kind of highly intolerable misconduct from the beginning from one character to another. The crime committed by the antagonist...


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...the rules, but just not in the standard and expected way of an Elizabethan revenge. No his wife does not go insane due to an isolation, but they still go insane due to grief. Even though the ghost isn’t directly in contact with the revenger himself, he is still playing a role in leading the revenge into a certain direction. “Thomas Kyd developed the Kydian Formula not to veer away from revenge tragedy, but to completely distinguish revenge tragedies from other plays.” No matter how he did it, his dominant theme was revenge which ends up playing out exactly as it should. Even though Kyd takes his own path, he still manages to “follow the conventions of Elizabethan theatre very closely” (). The central character, Hieronimo ended up having to give the killers of his son the justice they deserved, and take matters into his own hands since no one else would.


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