Justice And Revenge In The Spanish Tragedy By Thomas Kyd

1978 words - 8 pages

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. A series of carefully plotted steps, coupled with ...view middle of the document...

However, Hieronimo has lost the ability to think rationally because his son has been killed. This initiates the revenge plot, which begins the downward spiral of Hieronimo.

The successful nature of the Spanish court is called into question by Hieronimo as he wrestles between revenge and justice. He is unable to decide whether or not justice is successful in its pursuit of incrimination and incarceration. As much as Hieronimo believes in justice, he reaches an impasse. He says that he will ?either purchase justice by entreats/ Or time them all with my revenging threats? (3.7.72-73). These are the comments of a distraught individual. He is readily aware that he can continue to push for justice or he can disavow civility and seek vengeance by other means. Hieronimo must attempt one more try for justice in the public sphere before he executes his plan. Each step along the way moves Hieronimo closer to murderous vengeance.

Hieronimo has based the continued existence of his life on avenging his son. This is what has motivated Hieronimo to act swiftly through the hand of revenge. He professes, ?For if I hang or kill myself, let?s know/ Who will revenge Horatio?s murder then?? (4.5.17-18). Hieronimo believes that he is the only individual that can avenge the death of Horatio. Therefore, he must stay alive in order to carry out his plan. This attitude aids the initiation of the revenge plot laid out by Hieronimo. As Hieronimo has been adjudicating the positives and negatives of revenge, he has also been realizing that his life is all but nothing without his son. This unflinching devotion to his offspring is the linchpin of his entire scheme. Therefore, Hieronimo must take it upon himself to judge those that have wronged his family. This step ultimately expedites the vengeful nature of Hieronimo and ceases his rational and just nature.

The next step towards revenge that Hieronimo takes is an attempt at convincing the court that they should seek justice on the murder of his son. As Hieronimo begs the court for one last attempt at civil justice, he does not deal in terms of reason. He cries out that he would ?surrender up my marshalship;/ For I?ll go marshal up the fiends in hell,/ to be avenge on you all for this? (4.5.76-78). Hieronimo is willingly ready to sacrifice his position in society in order to avenge his son. This behavior does not sit well with the king. In fact, the king asks, ?What means this outrage?/ Will none of you restrain his fury?? (4.5.79-80). Hieronimo is no longer acting in a professional manner. He has approached the king in a belligerent state of mind, which in turn has provoked the king to call into question the sanity of Hieronimo. Lorenzo even calls him a ?lunatic? (4.5.89). Thoughts of revenge have not only disrupted the rational thoughts of Hieronimo, but have also driven him to the point of madness in the presence of royalty. At this point, Hieronimo is clearly far less rational and civil than...

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