Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy Analysis

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"Revenge tragedy" and "the revenge play" are twentieth-century terms which owe their origin to A. H. Thorndike. Early in this century, Thorndike used the terms to categorize a number of Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, whose leading aim is revenge and whose main actions deal with the progress of this revenge. Fredson Bowers then popularized these terms in his important study entitled “Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy 1587-1642”. The Spanish Tragedy, by Thomas Kyd, is the foundation of Elizabethan revenge tragedy. It was primarily moral and philosophical, along with a Senecan style and structure. The play uses most of the Elizabethan conventions for a revenge tragedy. Typical elements in an Elizabethan revenge tragedy include the main character’s …show more content…
The style of dialogue is captivating and inquisitively elusive, which further makes it an Elizabethan revenge tragedy. The dramatic method is nascent and plotting is inventive. Public executions were very popular at that time, and thus were carried out in theatres. Blank verse was used for the sinister parts and prose for the comic patches.
The play puts light upon a Machiavellian figure, described as a deceitful interpersonal style, a contemptuous disrespect for morality, and a focus on self-interest and personal gain, and exploitation, with also the breaking of the hierarchy of the blue bloods. The Spanish Tragedy is basically a Senecan imitation. Elizabethan drama was greatly influenced by Senecan drama. The play also has a personified spirit of revenge, powered by supernatural forces and the workings of
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The play presents an artistic vision of the virtuous individual trying to come to some understanding of the nature of his own corrupt society. Work was done on such dramatic conventions as: the ghost; the play-within-a-play as a means of exposing or punishing the guilty; horrific crimes and bloodshed; Machiavellian conspiracy and treachery; and the revenger's real or contrived madness. The impact of Seneca, particularly on the early plays, was likewise completely inspected. More recently, the moral and ethical problems posed by revenge tragedy have been approached through study of the technique of sixteenth-century rhetoric. Some critics, while writing about The Spanish Tragedy, also explain the moral and ethical attitudes towards private revenge that existed in Elizabethan England.
The playwright selected the natural settings not only because they are locations where crimes could possibly be committed, but also because a garden and a forest had important connotative meanings for the Elizabethans. Kyd plainly exploits this indicative significance in The Spanish Tragedy, hence Hieronimo's description of his garden as a "sacred" place. It is uncertain how the garden was represented on the unlocalized Elizabethan stage, but a few

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