Thematic Concepts of Women and Justice in "The Revenger's Tragedy" Essay

Thematic Concepts of Women and Justice in "The Revenger's Tragedy" Essay

Length: 1763 words (5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The use of thematic concepts such as women and justice within the play The Revenger’s Tragedy represents the social and literary context of England in the early 1600’s. In this way, it also ‘holds the mirror up to nature’ (Hamlet, Act III, Scene ii). The playwright, Tourneur , has used features and devices within the text to aid the representation of these themes, and apply them to its social and literary context.
The Revenger’s Tragedy was written during the Elizabethan Era, specifically the Jacobean Period. This was the time of the revenge tragedy, and many other plays such as Hamlet by Shakespeare have evidently influenced Tourneur’s work. Hamlet was written in 1601, five years before The Revenger’s Tragedy was first performed. Both were written according to the idea of a Senecan tragedy, so many links can be drawn between these two texts.
Women:
One of the most prominent and clear themes Tourneur uses is the role of women. The audience is able to gain a view of Tourneur’s thoughts of women within the context of the early 1600’s in England, through the use of strong statements that would be considered sexist in our contemporary society. Certain stereotypical traits are evident, such as the idea that women are gullible - ‘their sex is easy in belief’ (Act I, Scene i, l. 107); untrustworthy – ‘Tell but some woman a secret over night, Your doctor may find it in the urinal i’th’morning’ (I iii ll. 84-85); and sinful – ‘there’s no pleasure sweet, but it is sinful’ (Act III, Scene v, l. 203). The use of sexual innuendo in these lines adds to the entertainment value of the performance and makes it appropriate for the English audience, while the oxymoronic phrase from Act III Scene v represents the two paths the Duchess can take, a...


... middle of paper ...


...was written entirely in prose, reflecting Vindice’s disguise as Piato, while its deliverance to Lussurioso is ironic, as he is one of the main characters Vindice is talking about. The question of justice is never fully resolved, however the Natural Order is resolved by the end of the play through the heavens and virtuous characters, such as Antonio. From this, audiences gain the impression that no matter what occurs, the heavens will right the natural order and society will be at peace.

Within The Revenger’s Tragedy, thematic concepts such as women and justice serve to represent the social and literary context of the play, but to also offer society a reflection of itself. The role of women in the play reflects society’s place for them, while justice is used to offer the corrupt society a representation of itself, and show that the Natural Order will be righted.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Revenger's Tragedy Essay

- The Revenger’s Tragedy, assumedly written by the playwright Cyril Tourneur, is a rich and compelling theatric play which functions as a social commentary for the Jacobean period when it was written. Themes such as the immorality and fickleness of women, and the subversion of personal justice over public justice serve as a multifaceted reflection of society’s values during that iniquitous era. These key ideas help secure this tragedy as a classic which has lasted throughout the ages, due to its constant relevance and engaging thematic values....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Powerful Essays
1551 words (4.4 pages)

Revenge in Hamlet and The Revenger's Tragedy Essay

-     In this study of revenge and revengers in two Elizabethan revenge tragedies the two plays I shall look at are Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, and The Revenger's Tragedy, by Thomas Middleton. I shall look first at the playwrights' handling of the characters of the revengers, and then at the treatment of the revengers by other characters in the plays. Although having similarities in their underlying themes, and in their adherence to conventions, these two plays present contrasting pictures of the figure of the revenger; Hamlet offering a far more complex treatment of its main character, and The Revenger's Tragedy appearing, in comparison, limited by the author's social message, and lacking...   [tags: Elizabethan Revenge Tragedies]

Powerful Essays
3225 words (9.2 pages)

The Revenger's Tragedy Essay example

- The Revenger's Tragedy What type of tragedy is this. A tragedy, by definition, is a 'disastrous, distressing and very sad event'. The Revenger's Tragedy, however, does not display all of these characteristics. It is macabre and grotesque and delights in gory descriptions of blood, violence, death and murder, but it is not a sad story. It is more likely to evoke feelings of disbelief and incredulity at the plot than to cause its audience to feel any kind of sadness. In all, there are thirteen revenge actions, five without motivation, and it seems that the tragedian's aim was to use revenge as a dramatic device to arouse revulsion rather than sadness at the waste...   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
814 words (2.3 pages)

Justice and Revenge in The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd Essay

- Justice and Revenge in The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd Throughout 'The Spanish Tragedy', by Thomas Kyd, there is a constant theme of justice and revenge. Justice is the supreme law of the land; without justice, a country would fall into disrepute and those who are readily concerned with the status of society would have no grounds to stand upon. Therefore, those in power venerate justice. Revenge, however, upsets the delicate balance that holds Spanish society together. Hieronimo does his best to maintain a civil attitude towards incrimination and justice, but his plans for revenge lay waste to the very law he professes to adore....   [tags: Spanish Tragedy Thomas Kyd Essays]

Powerful Essays
1904 words (5.4 pages)

The Use of Symbolism and Imagery in Tourneur's The Revenger’s Tragedy Essay

- The Revenger’s Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur, was written using symbolism and imagery, which comes from the protagonist (The revenger) Vindice. A main trait of a tragedy is that there will be a downfall of a character within the play, in this case from the opening scene the protagonist, Vindice, is the clear culprit for an emotional meltdown and a tragedy all of his own. These themes of symbolism and imagery in The Revenger’s tragedy are a connection between what is right and wrong. In the first character whom is introduced into the play and is of a high social background, we know this because throughout the soliloquy Vindice speaks using Iambic pentameter (blank verse) however when the charact...   [tags: Literary Techniques, Literary Tools]

Powerful Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

Representation of Women & Ideas of Morality In The Revenger’s Tragedy Essay

- The Revenger’s Tragedy, by Thomas Middleton (1607), has many themes and ideas which, through thematic and structural value, effectively “hold a mirror up to nature”. Through the representation of women and the ideas of morality presented, The Revengers Tragedy presents a significant commentary on society. There are many layers to Middleton’s work, and the deeper one looks, the more complex and subversive ideas begin to develop, particularly based around the associated social context. In The Revenger’s Tragedy, women are represented in a number of different ways, but they are all interlinked....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Powerful Essays
1365 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Revenge Is Not Justice

- Revenge is not Justice “With God as my witness, I have been falsely accused of these crimes. I did not commit them. I am an innocent man, and I just pray in the name of Jesus Christ that all this will be brought out. The truth will eventually be brought out.” That is a direct quote from Calvin C. Johnson Jr. that he said in 1983, at his sentence hearing (Hamikian). The death penalty is slowly depleting from countries and more than two-thirds of countries have stopped using is it as a form of punishment (Dying Out)....   [tags: Criminal Justice]

Powerful Essays
1906 words (5.4 pages)

The Tragedy Of Sophocles ' Tragedy Essay

- Re-evaluating Tragedy Fifth century Athens created the institutionalisation of tragedy as an art form throughout the polis. Originating as Dionysian celebrations through masks, dithyrambs and dance, tragedy developed into an architectural form for playwrights, namely Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, to encapsulate the struggle of the human condition in its attempts to reconcile good and evil existence. Aristotle deconstructed tragedy and its form into the “imitation of an action that is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude”....   [tags: Tragedy, Sophocles, Greek mythology, Euripides]

Powerful Essays
1564 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Justice vs Revenge

- Justice is part of revenge; as also for revenge is part of justice. “Justice” comes from a Latin word that means “straight, fair, equal”, it’s the quality of being righteous and loyal towards one’s state, although serves the interests of the stronger (Hourani, 1962), while revenge is the act of taking retaliation for injuries or wrongs. What ever the circumstances are being the individual who experiences a unjust act, results in the hunt for one of these two things: Justice or revenge. What are the key differences between the two....   [tags: Justice System Essays]

Powerful Essays
1309 words (3.7 pages)

Soliolquy in Shakespeare´s Hamlet and The Reverger´s Tragedy Essay

- ... Moreover the logical progression in Hamlet’s interaction with Claudius is lost to a more liberal and erratic composition of ideas in the soliloquy. In dialogue, Hamlet offers explanation and justification: “These indeed seem / For they are…”. There is logic and rationale to this structure; it gives the appearance of a speaker who is well evidenced, certain and in control, however it is an unconvincing reflection of the way we speak. Hamlet collapses into soliloquy, losing this composed structure....   [tags: appearances, moods, behavior, disguise]

Powerful Essays
1837 words (5.2 pages)