Burying The Mother Speech Analysis

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The Spanish Tragedy: Burying the Mother
There are several depictions of grieving fathers throughout The Spanish Tragedy. However, while the audience may be expecting a war-impacted setting, it is indicated that none of the losses mourned by fathers in the play are due to battle, but petty in-fighting, and other suspect circumstances, which lead these fathers to demand justice, or pursue revenge. Nevertheless, the insistence to display the grief of fathers, over the death of sons, reveals a significant lack of grieving mothers. Due to this pattern, Isabella, the sole mother character, is crucial in determining the position of mothers, and women in general, religiously and socially, within the context of the play. It is through her mental decline—rather
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In Isabella’s speech there is an unclear picture of the division of life and death, divine and earthly, and between soul and body (Mazzio 215). Moreover, the language of her speech, while strewn with Christian imagery and rhetoric for both her and her son Horatio, is in direct opposition to her earlier affirmation that justice will come in time, in that she frantically seeks her son’s murderers and begins to want revenge. This displays that Isabella is being overtaken by her madness, because justice has not come. Yet, while this passage is Isabella’s first mention of revenge, she still presents it as something she can‘t achieve directly. This is partly because Isabella still believes in her role as mother which inhibits her own ability to get revenge, or even to cross the boundary between her private life and the public arena of the play. She seeks to find Horatio’s murderers, but is incapable of leaving her status as mother and wife, or like Bel-Imperia, using her status to get a semblance of freedom. It seems that not even Hieronimo is keeping her apprised of the world outside their home as she has not been informed that Hieronimo has confirmed Lorenzo and Balthazar as the murderers (3.7). Finally, in Isabella’s last appearance in the play she returns to the garden, which she seeks to destroy, completely consumed by grief and a need for revenge. In doing so Isabella explains that “Since neither piety nor pity moves the king to justice or compassion, I will revenge myself upon this place, Where thus they murdered by belovéd son” (4.2. 2-5). In this particular moment Isabella reveals how insulated her world really is, as Nardizzi states in their paper “No Wood, No

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