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How Do The Medieval Elements Of Drama Acquire Some Elizabethan Qualities In The Spanish Tragedy

1371 words - 6 pages

Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy received great popularity and stamped as a form to be imitated not only because it has revenge as a tragic motive but also because it is a imitation from medieval tragedy. This masterpiece was presented as blood - revenge where the sacred duty of the father to avenge the murder of his son - and from that sensational theme (which was also popular in classic tragic dramas) derived its polarity and uniqueness.

Revenge tragedy in its general sense defines the real dramatic motivation behind which blood and violence lies. Kyd, as an Elizabethan dramatist wanted to show his uniqueness with academic tradition and for this he owns a great deal to Lucius Annaceus ...view middle of the document...

Though the machinery of the ghost of Andrea and Revenge is Senecan in construction but the function of the two as chorus is not classical.

In Act I Scene ii Kyd confesses his fondness of Antithesis where the parallel structure is made. For example, Balthazar’s dialogue to Horatio and Lorenzo,
“…To him in courtesy, to this per force….”

He is indicating both of them where one as a fierce warrior and another as verbal manipulator.

Hieronimo’s grief for his son is reinforced by the grief of the viceroy for the supposed death of Balthazar and later for his actual slaying.
The madness of Hieronimo for his sons death is an important dramatic device which is a common sign of medieval tragedy. Kyd used soliloquies to show human soul and human behavior under moral stress. Hieronimo question the “justice of heaven” that is
“..How should we term your dealing to be just
If you unjustly deal with those that in your justice trust?..”

In his madness or with sense Hieronimo first endeavors to secure his legal rights before taking the law in his hand but soon realizing that he can never find legal justice against two royal bloods. Here kyd also imposes medieval machinery of the importance of blue blood which was also a common element in Elizabethan tragedy.

In The Spanish Tragedy there is huge use of blank verse, hyperbolic, detailed descriptions and also great use of rhetorical language is seen which is also an unique imitation of medieval tragedy. It may be illustrated by the following description of Act II Scene iv where Kyd identifies Lorenzo and Balthazar as both super human and sub human. Super human because they posses inhuman mechanism, are indifferent to love and hopes of others and solely concerned for own ambition and sub human because they are incapable of normal human emotion.

It is medieval technique to show villain as a non-human to gain pity for the protagonist and Kyd has used it appropriately.
Kid also introduces here Machiavellian villain which was something new for Elizabethan audience. It has a double perspective, one to show Lorenzo as a villain and another to create relationship between the character and audience because Machiavellian was an evil philosopher for Elizabethan audience and it was more effective to take a character from real life.

In dealing with irony Kyd adopts dramatic irony which worked as medieval irony of fate. He also used double irony where Pedringano was hanged, Here Hieronimo is shown to judge the unjust.

Just like medieval hero’s impassionedness the ghost of Andrea was impassioned for revenge and Revenge shows him a show where a silent mosque was full with blood so informing the audience soon the revenge would make its hand red with blood.

Again to imitate medieval patriarchal society Kyd a shows Bel-imperia as a character who is dominated by either by her brother or father. BY obeying her fathers command for the hand of marriage with Balthazer and thanking her brother...

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