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“The Spanish Tragedy” Play by Thomas Kyd

The theme of revenge frozen the blood of every person. But only writers in their literary works can present all experiences of the soul of this human vice. A famous English dramatist Thomas Kyd wrote his well-known psychological masterpiece The Spanish Tragedy. By this work of literature, he tried to report all the heart of this insidious feeling and to disclose the whole many-sided nature of it. The history of the writing of this literary masterpiece dated back to the times of Ancient Rome. Seneca was the forefather of this scenery. He wrote many plays concerning the murders and revenge full of bloody payback. In its time The Spanish Tragedy was a ground for a new genre and was a stimulus for the quick development of such new branches in theatres as Elizabethan drama. The main trait of this play is a well-used device of literature – one play in the frame of the other play. The plot of the play presents several cruel and horrible murders. The main theme of it is the painful hesitations of the protagonist in conducting his revenge. It is easy to venture for such action, but it is hard to live with this burden in heart and mind. This theme is presented through the various aspects of the plot. The only difference is the attitudes to justification. The first case can be viewed at the beginning of the play when the Ghost of Andrea desires to revenge for the murder of his master on the Prince of Portugal Balthazar, who killed Andrea in the battle against the Portuguese. But the Ghost can do nothing as it is just the ghost. Bel-Imperia is one more character who longs for revenge. She wants the death of Balthazar, as he killed her beloved Andrea. Bel-Imperia tries to get to her victim with the help of Horatio, but Horazio is also murdered by Balthazar, so Bel-Imperia has two grounds for revenge. Balthazar in his turn also has a certain ground for revenge. He has a burning desire to revenge on Horatio, who defeated and took him, prisoner, in battle. Because of this fact Spain gained victory and made Portugal pay tribute. All the actions in the whole play are built on a serious theme, but only the reader knows the truth. Nobody among the characters does have the whole presentation of the situation. Here the reader can observe such interesting literary devices as dramatic irony.

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The main characters of The Spanish Tragedy are Revenge ( personified abstraction), Ghost of Andrea (Spanish courtier), Hieronimo, Horatio, Lorenzo (son of the Duke), Bel-Imperia (widow of Andrea and sister of Lorenzo), Balthazar (Prince of Portugal, the object of revenge, as he is Andrea’s killer).

The famous masterpiece begins with the scene when Andrea tells about his life as a famous Spanish noble, his relationships with Bel-Imperia full of love, tenderness, and happiness, his descent into the Other World, returns to the Living World with Revenge. Balthazar wants to win the heart of Bel-Imperia, who became a widow after Andrea’s death. But she refuses to marry the murderer of her husband and gives her heart to Horatio. Balthazar with the help of Lorenzo kills Horatio.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 18). “The Spanish Tragedy” Play by Thomas Kyd.

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"“The Spanish Tragedy” Play by Thomas Kyd." StudyCorgi, 18 Oct. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "“The Spanish Tragedy” Play by Thomas Kyd." October 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "“The Spanish Tragedy” Play by Thomas Kyd." October 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "“The Spanish Tragedy” Play by Thomas Kyd." October 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) '“The Spanish Tragedy” Play by Thomas Kyd'. 18 October.

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