Read The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd David Bevington Online

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David Bevington's new introduction to this classic play includes the latest developments in performance history and theater criticism. Detailed notes make this an ideal teching text....

Title : The Spanish Tragedy
Author :
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ISBN : 9780719043444
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 147 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Spanish Tragedy Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-04-28 19:33

    This strange, lumpy drama is oddly effective in its own discursive way, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves Elizabethan theatre in general or Hamlet in particular or who is fascinated by the theme of revenge. The exposition (political rivalry between Spain and Portugal, events leading up to Horatio's murder) is well executed, but after that Kyd's passion for powerful effect (particularly in Hieronimo's mad scenes) overshadows and occasionally confounds coherent plot development. Who in the court knows Horatio has been murdered and when do they know it? Clear answers to these questions might have clarified motivations and illuminated dialogue--both of which are occasionally baffling. Yet the individual scenes--Hieronimo discovering his son hanging in the garden, Hieronimo and the painter, Hieronomo with a book, Hieronimo surrounded by legal suitors, Hieronimo's direction of the play-within-a-play--are all very powerful and make reading the play worthwhile. In addition, the influences of "The Spanish Tragedy" on Hamlet are many, and it is fun to spot them as they arise.

  • Manab
    2019-05-06 19:16

    একজন কমলালেবু নামের হীন বইটারে এক বিদগ্ধ পাঠক দেখলাম পাঁচ তারা দিয়েছেন, ত ঐ বইটারে তিনি তারকাখচিত করার কারণ কী হইতে পারে এই ভাবনায় রিভিউ পড়তে গিয়ে মনে হইলো, রিভিউটা বা তারা কয়টা জীবনানন্দ সাহেবের জীবনীনির্ভর ঐ ঠোঙাপ্রদায়ী উপন্যাসটার জন্য না, বরং দাশবাবুর গোটা ক্যারিয়ারের জন্য। বই প্রসঙ্গে কিছু নাই, জামান সাহেবরে নিয়ে বুরবক সমাজে যে আষ্ফালন, তাও নাই, আছে শুধু নিজের জীবনে জীবনানন্দ সাহেবের উপস্থিতির ফিরিস্তি, সেও আবার দাশপ্রদত্ত শব্দের হিড়িক বাঁধায়ে। আমি যদি ঐ কিসিমে আগাই, তাহলে আমাকেও এই বইটারে, অর্থাৎ স্পেনিশ ট্রাজেডিরে পাঁচ তারা দিতে হয়, বলতে হয় যে এই বইয়ের নাম আর আমার জীবন কীভাবে বালিশের ওয়াড়ের দুই খণ্ড কাপড়ের মত জোড়া লেগে গেছে, এখন হয়ত কেবল কোনো সরল কৌতূহল-ওলা শিশুই পারে এই ওয়াড়ের জীবনের এইখানেই ইতি টানতে, একটু একটু করে সেলাই খুলে ফেলার মাধ্যমে। আরো বলতে হয় আমি পাগল হয়ে যাচ্ছি, এই নাটকের হিরোনিমোর মত, এর ভাবশিষ্য নাটক হ্যামলেটের নামচরিত্রের মত, আমি পাগল হয়ে যাচ্ছি সুবর্ণা -কিন্তু আমি আসলে এই বই নিয়ে দুই চারটা কথা বলাটারেই আগায়ে রাখবো। সুতরাং, শুরু করি।টমাস কিডেরে আমার একজন চৌকস ঔপন্যাসিক মনে হইছে। হ্যাঁ, তখন উপন্যাস লেখার চল ছিলো না ঠিক, আর এইটাই ভাবায়, এখন যেই দক্ষতা পরম আরাধ্য, অন্য সময়ে সেই দক্ষতার দৌড় কতদূর - পরিচিতজনেরা দেখি হিপহপ করতেছেন কেউ কেউ - ভাবেন একবার, আঠারোশ ঊননব্বুইয়ে হিপহপের বদান্যতা কি টের পাইতো কেউ? টমাস কিডের কবিত্বশক্তি কিছুটা ফেলনা গোছের, শেক্সপীয়র-মার্লোর মত উত্তম কাব্য তিনি সিঞ্চন করতে সমর্থ হন নাই, প্রথমদিকে গায়ে না লাগলেও একটু পরপর ধামাকাদার ফরমুলাইক বাণী আওড়ানো অসহ্যই ঠেকে একটা সময় পর। ও আইজ, নো আইজ আমার অবশ্য বেশ লাগছিলো - কিন্তু কিড যেইটা পারেন খুব ভালোমতন, সেইটা হচ্ছে গল্প দাঁড় করানো - চরিত্র না, চরিত্রের ক্ষেত্রেও অন্যরা বেশ খানিকটা আগায়ে থাকবেন, কিন্তু কিড সাহেবের গল্প আগায় অবিশ্বাস্য দ্রুত গতিতে, অনেক কিছু ঘটে তার নাটকে, তিনি কাহিনীরে জায়গা দেন, এবং চরিত্রেরা ছোটো বড়ো মাঝারি যাই হোক, তারা কাহিনীর পথে বাঁধা না হয়ে বরং পিচ্ছিলকারক হয়ে দাঁড়ায়, রাস্তা আরো মসৃণ হয়ে ওঠে। বালতাজার লরেঞ্জো আর বেল-ইম্পেরিয়ার কথোপকথন, বা পেরিং-কী-যেনোকে মারবার পর হিরোনিমোর সত্য-আবিষ্কার, এইসবই এত চমৎকারভাবে আঁকা, বা লরেঞ্জো আর হোরাশিওর মাঝে গণিমত ভাগ বাটোয়ারা, হিরোনিমোর সাথে সন্তানহারা আরেক বৃদ্ধের কথোপকথন, এইসব একটা গড়পড়তা নাটকরে কাহিনীর বিচারে অসাধারণ করে। শেষের দিকে বিদেশী ভাষারে সম্বল করে যে হুলস্থুল, সেটা মঞ্চায়িত করা অসম্ভব মনে হয়, এবং আমার ব্যক্তিগত বিশ্বাসরে দৃঢ় করে যে কবিত্ব যতখানিই হোক, গল্প সাজানোর বিচারে টমাস কিড এইযুগের বহুত ঔপন্যাসিকেরে তুড়ি মেরে ফেলে দেয়ার ক্ষমতা রাখতেন। চরিত্রগুলি আরেকটু মাংশল হইত যদি - আহ সময়, ঠিক সময়ে না আসতে পারলে আর কীসের সময়। তাও ভালো ছাপাখানা আবিষ্কারের পর কিড সাহেবের আগমন, তাই তাঁরে পড়তে পারা গেলো। আর ঠিক সময় কী তাই বা কে জানে। কে জানে, সামনে হয়ত এইসব লেখাজোকা থাকবে না আর, দেখা যাবে হয়ত এই নাই ঐ নাই, দেখা যবে কেউ হয়ত বলছে উনি বা তিনি হতে পারতেন চমৎকার অমৌকিক বা তমৌকিক - সময়ের ধারণাটারেই গুবলেট মনে হয় আমার মাঝে মাঝে।

  • Bryn Hammond
    2019-05-10 18:31

    Love it. Of course the language is more patterned than Shakespeare, but if you can enjoy that, it's well-done. I read it (again) for Titus Andronicus background; and it has a similar effect of horror-farce (... more funny. I can't help but laugh through the last scene, whether I'm meant to or not. Heironimo's mad grief speeches, though, have serious pathos); but so much else seems to have begun here. Proper title: The Spanish Tragedie: Or, Heironimo is mad againe. I read a nifty ebook with original spelling and title page/frontispiece, along with other material: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01...

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2019-04-20 15:15

    During a battle for independence, Spanish officer Andrea is killed by the Viceroy of Portugal's son Balthazar, who in turn gets captured by Lorenzo and Horatio. Horatio comforts Lorenzo's sister Bel-imperia over Andrea's death, but she wants revenge. Balthazar and Horatio both fall in love with Bel-imperia and bloodshed is inevitable, but it's not what you'd expect. On top of that, Andrea is now a ghost and watches events unfold with the spirit of Revenge (present onstage throughout the entirety of the play). This really is the ultimate revenge play, Shakespeare did well in taking inspiration from it for Hamlet.

  • Robert Sheppard
    2019-04-28 15:13

    FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES----ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEFThe Spanish Tragedy of Thomas Kyd (1587) is one of the touchstones of the Drama of the English Renaissance and well worth reading for anyone with an interest in Shakespeare, the evolution of English Drama and Literature and in the history and culture of the Renaissance and Elizabethan Age. The play is notable in the history of English drama in being the first innovative model of the genre of the "Revenge Tragedy," and as such a precursor of better known works, most particularly Shakespeare's Hamlet. But why is such a Renaissance Revenge Tragedy of continuing interest to us today?I would answer and positively recommend your reading of this compelling work by first observing that such revenge tragedy is about much more than revenge. It is laced with the acid and very modern existential consciousness of an underlying world in which the cant of both human and divine law, order and justice is found wanting at best, and which presents persons injured and abused with the dilemma of turning alternatively to either vengance, protest, faith in a continuously deferred questionable karmic or divine retribution, or quietest acceptance of a violently absurd and meaningless world. The "Revenge Hero" is also a precursor and brother to our own modern and post-modern "anti-heroes" in books and cinema from Batman to film noir to Django, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Oblivion, who finding that corrupt institutions and the absent or impotent hand of a divine or natural order, feel called upon to rebel and take justice into their own hands. Even the modern Jihadist paints himself as a "revenge hero" against a perceived unjust social order of militarist repression from the West and Israel or a soulless and corruptive materialist modernity. The Revenge Tragedy thus is of continuing interest, not only as a moving drama of crime and punishment, but also in its ability to call into question the wider functioning of social order and its relation to the individual as well as presenting to our mind the question of the existence or non-existence of any divine, natural or human order or justice in the universe and the consequence of such for our lives. In Kyd's tragedy, the revenge hero is Heironimo, a humanistic, educated judicial officer of the Spanish court and a loving husband and father who would be the last person one could imagine as possessed with the violent passion of blood vengeance. He, and the generic revenge hero of latter works such as Hamlet, contrary to expectation is not any kind of "blood" out for violent pay-back, but is the most reluctant of seekers of retribution. He is only driven to take action by the perfidious murder of his beloved son Horatio, a returned war-hero in the battles against the Portugese, a crime perpetrated by the corrupt royal princes of both warring nations out of lover's jealousy and corrupt political expediency, resulting in his society's betrayal and corrupt failure, particularly of its ruling class, to grant him and his dead son any form of justice. Like Hamlet he hesitates, questions and doubts himself, doubts the evidence, and pushes himself to the brink of madness arising from his dispair before in the end turning to reluctant action. As in Shakespeare's Hamlet, he also uses the convoluted device of a "play within a play," a court masque performed by noble personages, to bring about the undoing of the villians through his participation as writer, director and actor, leading in the end to their death by his hand. The Spanish Tragedy ends bathed in an orgy of blood, and on such a note of pessimism as to human or divine order and justice, that it may have contributed to the historical Kyd himself at a later time being arrested and charged with "atheism and heresy," along with his friend and colleague Christopher Marlowe, author of Faustus. Who in our modern time can view the savage and bloody videos of the mass slaughters, beheadings and mutilations of the Zetas and drug cartels in Mexico, the genocide in Rwanda, the ceaseless sectarian bombings and retributions from Boston to Chechnya to Syria, Palestine and Bombay without some visceral questioning of their faith in any human or divine justice on earth? It is a commonplace of Rennaissance scholarship to invoke the terminology of "Early Modern" in discribing Kyd's age, and Kyd's tragic vision and pessimism in retrospect do look increasingly "Modern" far before its time. For most of us, we come to Kyd through Shakespeare, and my initial attention in reading Kyd's drama was focused on the many similarities and influences of the play on Hamlet. Though we romanticize Shakespeare as one of, or perhaps the ultimate original genius of English and World Literature, by reading Kyd's play we can also recognize how Shakespeare was a shameless borrower of stories, content and treatment in producing his own works. Indeed, not only was the Spanish Tragedy a powerful model from which The Bard drew, but Kyd had also produced his own version of Hamlet years before, of which the text was unfortunately lost to modern scholars, lending him the very subject matter itself. But any modern reader of Kyd's play will be forcefully struck by such similarities as Heironimo's "Hamletian" hesitation and madness, the "play within a Play," the corruption in the fabric of society, especially in the ruling class and the catharsis and purgation of sin by blood which are common with Shakespeare's work. One is forced to rethink what was original to Shakespeare and what derived from the conventions of the genre itself. T.S. Eliot also wrote on Kyd's work, and it is well to call to mind his invocation of "The Tradition" from his essay "Tradition and the Indivudual Talent" even with regard to so great a talent as Shakespeare himself. Shakespeare visibly borrowed from and added force to his work from prior models including Kyd as well a classical precursors such as Seneca. I and World Literature Forum thus positively recommend looking into Kyd's cathartic tragedy of blood and anomie as a moving read, a re-perspectiving of Shakespeare, and as a revisiting of the early roots of Modernity. Robert SheppardEditor-in-ChiefWorld Literature Forumhttp://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr...Author, Spiritus Mundi Novelhttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17...Copyright Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

  • Jesse
    2019-05-18 15:24

    This revenge play, the finest and most popular of the Elizabethan era, possesses an admirable structure and many finely wrought, though often over-labored, phrases and rhythms. The words spin out successfully and appropriately (except for those terrible, and long, dips into Latin!); yet are they one and all lacking the necessary passion that undergirds Shakespeare's and Marlowe's greatest exchanges. Although the words each fall with a grace, they, like the notes in a Steely Dan song, in the aggregate, only serve to annoy. As a result, the revenge in question is a little too long in coming. The moral of the story, about justice being subject to freak circumstance, long before Camus bored us, is ultimately unconvincing, partly because the freak circumstance in question is in fact a very elaborate and planned conspiracy, unlike the mini Portuguese side-plot, which does indeed depend on chance, and only serves to confuse the perspicacious reader; yet, in the theater, one suspects it appears a smooth contrast. To relent, then, a great play is not for the overly bookish, and no doubt Kyd's masterpiece is to be seen rather than read.

  • majoringinliterature
    2019-05-11 14:25

    BALTHAZAR Hieronimo, methinks a comedy were better. HIERONIMO A comedy? Fie, comedies are fit for common wits: But to present a kingly troupe withal, Give me a stately-written tragedy,Tragedia cothurnata, fitting kings, Containing matter, and not common things.(IV:i, ll. 155-161)The Spanish Tragedy is one of those plays that shows up very frequently on college courses and Shakespeare-related reading lists. Yet despite its popularity with Theatre Studies professors the world over, it's very rarely the first thing to pop into someone's head when they think of Elizabethan theatre. Or the second thing, for that matter.I have to admit, this puzzles me a little. After all, The Spanish Tragedy pretty much does exactly what it says on the can: it's set in Spain; it's about revenge; and there's enough tragedy to make even Romeo and Juliet take a break from their incessant adolescent whining to sit up and take notes.The Spanish Tragedy tells the very tragic story of the tragic death of Don Andrea, and of his lover Bel-Imperia, who tragically vows to revenge herself on Andrea's murderer. She's aided in her plan by Hieronimo, whose son Horatio is murdered in truly tragic circumstances. (view spoiler)[The height of all this tragedy arrives when Hieronimo stages a play with Balthazar and Lorenzo, the men who had Horatio tragically and brutally killed. Hieronimo pretends to make up with his son's murderers and then has them tragically stabbed to death without anybody even realising that it's not a part of the play. The height of this classic revenge tragedy comes when Hieronimo very tragically kills himself before anyone can accuse him of killing Balthazar and Lorenzo. (hide spoiler)]You can't say that Kyd doesn’t deliver on the tragedy front. But don't let my melodramatic summary put you off; The Spanish Tragedy is an impressive piece of playwriting, full of suspense and surprises. The story begins with the ghost of Don Andrea emerging from the underworld with his new friend, Revenge. Don Andrea, a little miffed that he's been killed by the sneaky Balthazar in the heat of battle, begs Revenge to show him how his enemies meet their own gruesome ends. You always know you're in for a good time when you go to the theatre and see a ghost pop out in the very first scene, so I began my reading with high hopes.The ghost and Revenge continue to disappear and reappear, keeping track of the murders and double-crossings that are taking place between the Spanish and Portuguese courts. And believe me, there are plenty. It's difficult to keep up, sometimes, with the amount of revenge that goes on in this play. In fact, I've compiled a quick list of just some of the revenges that take place:(view spoiler)[1. Horatio is murdered by Balthazar and Lorenzo, Bel-Imperia's brother. 2. Lorenzo locks up Bel-Imperia to keep her from telling (anyone with siblings knows how often this happens - the locking-up part, of course, not the murder part. I hope.)3. Hieronimo avenges his son by killing Lorenzo.4. Bel-Imperia avenges Andrea and Horatio by killing Balthazar.5. Isabella avenges Horatio by killing a tree (it was a particularly offensive tree).6. Hieronimo concludes his revenge by biting off his own tongue, killing the king's brother, and then hanging himself. (hide spoiler)]As you can probably tell, it isn't exactly an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. But by all accounts it was very popular in the Elizabethan theatre; it was re-staged a number of times, even after the author's death. And if some of these scenes are beginning to sound a little familiar, that's because many Elizabethan playwrights were influenced by Kyd's play. Including, of course, our old friend - Shakespeare. Yes, it's said that many scenes in Hamlet were inspired by The Spanish Tragedy. Most famous, of course, is the play-within-a-play scene; although there might also be something to the fact that one of the only people to survive at the end of Hamlet is named Horatio. Coincidence? I'll leave that for you to decide.Don't be put off by the gruesome murders or the melodramatic storyline; The Spanish Tragedy is quite a read, and it's one of those plays I think would look fabulous on the modern stage. It's a classic, and quite possibly the first revenge drama in the English language. And if you're still not sold, have a peek at this beautifully produced clip, showing one of the most significant moments in the play: the murder of Horatio.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Pdwr...Rating: 4.5 StarsOriginally Posted on Majoring in Literature.

  • Yani
    2019-05-17 15:28

    A pesar de que me encantaría hacerlo, no hablaré de las similitudes y diferencias conHamlet(que todavía no terminé, por cierto) porque esto se convertiría en una monografía. Creo, además, queThe Spanish Tragedypuede sobrevivir por sí sola y me gustó más allá de los textos con los que puede cruzarse.La palabratragedyno es un adorno del título y marca el tono de toda la obra de una manera implacable. La Venganza (así, con mayúscula) mueve los hilos de cada personaje y hay poquísimo espacio para bromas: hay sangre, dolor, locura y ambición. Andrea es el espectro de un cortesano español que cae muerto a manos de Balthazar, príncipe de Portugal, durante la guerra entre ambos países. Bellimperia (también se la puede encontrar como “Bel-imperia”), hija de un duque y enamorada de Andrea, planea vengar la muerte de su amado y Balthazar, muy oportunamente, es tomado prisionero por los españoles. Bellimperia cuenta con la ayuda de Horatio, el mejor amigo de Andrea, pero el asunto se complica por algo que el lector/ espectador sabe desde el inicio: el príncipe mató a Andrea porque amaba a su mujer. De esta forma, la Corte se volverá un caos. Algunas líneas son muy bellas, a pesar de los oscuros sentimientos que encierran. Los soliloquios de Hieronimo, el padre de Horatio, son geniales. Y a los que están cansados de encontrar caracteres femeninos sin personalidad, les presento a Bellimperia, la anti-heroína. Es maravillosa. Sospecho que nadie que haya visto la obra en tiempos pasados esperaba que una frase del estilo “¡Cómo no asesinaste a quien mi alma asesinó!” (I.4) saliera de los labios de una dama. Lo único que no me gustó fue la inclusión de una especie de subtrama en donde Villuppo cobra un protagonismo que después queda en la nada y las intervenciones del Verdugo. Resumiendo,The Spanish Tragedycuenta una historia interesante en donde las pasiones exaltadas tienen consecuencias poco felices. Vale la pena prestarle atención.

  • Jade Heslin
    2019-05-20 18:27

    I’d be interested in knowing whether or not Shakespeare and Kyd actually got on. There are rumours that Shakespeare actually had a hand in writing part of this play, which suggests that they were like bezzo mates or something. But then there’s evidence suggesting that Kyd is the person that Shakespeare stole the story of Hamlet from. I wouldn’t be happy if somebody pinched my story and became really famous while I sank into deepest darkest oblivion.Now, this is the only dabbling I’ve ever had in Kyd’s work but I’m actually pretty damn impressed. I think he definitely deserves to be considered Shakespeare’s equal. Kyd is said to have established the ‘revenge play’, and what a brilliant type of play that is. If I were around in Elizabethan times I’d be at the theatre ALL THE BLOODY TIME.Whilst Shakespeare excels at puns and whimsical wordplay, Kyd is a pro at complex rhyme schemes. Some of the rhyming couplets were just awe-inspiring, and actually had a message:“Jest with her gently: under feigned jest / are things conceal’d that else would breed unrest”. TRUEAnd when talking about rushing into a romance:“New-kindled flames should burn as morning sun / but not too fast, lest heat and all be done”. DOUBLY TRUEStory-wise, it was a little complex (too complex to iterate here), and I will probably need another read of it. All you need to know it that it's a proper revenge tragedy, and everyone dies. Make of that what you will.I think I have a bit of an Elizabethan playwright crush on Thomas Kyd. Not as much as Shakespeare, but there’s still time.

  • Catherine
    2019-05-10 20:05

    I have no idea what to think of this play.

  • Ed
    2019-05-03 16:27

    There is an Elizabethan play that opens with a ghost intent on vengeance, features several assassinations and a woman running mad, shows its protagonist agonizing over taking revenge and contains a play within a play used to trap a murderer. The plays ends with a bloodbath, bodies littering the stage with few of the main characters left alive. It was strongly influenced by Senecan tragedy, full of melodrama (as well as slaughter) to please the groundlings and plenty of pedantic moralizing and philosophical maxims that appealed to the toffs in the boxes. And it isn’t “Hamlet”. It is the play after which “Hamlet” might have been modeled, “The Spanish Tragedy” by Thomas Kyd. Kyd is also posited as an author of the “Ur-Hamlet”, a play with an unknown author and no surviving text, no cast list other than Hamlet and Ghost and known because of a single reference in a work by contemporary playwright Thomas Lodge. Just to muddy the waters a bit more a significant addition to “The Spanish Tragedy” done in 1602, fifteen years after it was first published, is thought to have been written by Shakespeare. All of that is interesting to scholars of the English Renaissance, Tudor literary history and the dramaturgy of early modern England but is surplus to requirements for now. Describing or even discussing the plot of “The Spanish Tragedy” can make it seem so over the top as to be ridiculous and self-parodying. This is reading into an older work the anachronistic views of today—a 16th century work interpreted as if it were written in and for the 21st century. The actors in plays by Kyd and his contemporaries had the text of the play and their voices and bodies. Special effects were limited. There was a trap door or two in the stage that allowed dramatic entrances, especially of Satan or other denizens of the underworld—the area beneath the stage was known as Hell. Changeable painted backdrops were lowered from Heaven, the false ceiling above the stage. A few fireworks (dangerous), a small cannon nearby for the start of battle scenes, bladders of blood—often real blood!—would burst when an actor was stabbed but there wasn’t much to entrance the audience other than the playwright’s words declaimed by actors.Therefore, insanely complicated plots were fine, particularly since most the characters would be dead before the end of the play. Sword thrusts, a poisoned goblet or the sudden work of the garrote thinned out the player’s list and put an end to overly complex subplots. Audiences expected this—the competition for their entertainment pennies included bearbaiting and dogfighting, public hanging of those found guilty of, among many other offenses, buggery and hawk stealing, and burning at the stake of heretics. So instead of summarizing the plot of “The Spanish Tragedy” here are some images and actions that pulled the crowds: Bel-imperia is imprisoned by her brother but manages to smuggle out a letter written in her own blood; Horatio is founded murdered—hanged and stabbed—by his parents and his mother goes mad; a servant, Pedrigano, murders the heir to the throne of Portugal, safe in the knowledge that he will be pardoned. He is fooled with a fake letter of pardon and expects to be released right up to the moment the noose tightens around his neck. The audience, of course, is in on the trick; Pedrigano is not.There is more—lots more—murder, torture and treachery, permanent and temporary insanity and a dismal catalog of betrayal of trusted allies. Kyd, Webster (“The Duchess of Malfi”), Middleton (“The Revenger’s Tragedy”) and a few others wrote blood soaked plays that were extremely popular. They can be read for enjoyment today if one is able to avoid seeing them through the prism of present day esthetics and codes. Like genre fiction or films today—horror, mystery, romance—they have their own conventions, just a bit more spectacular.

  • Tony
    2019-05-11 12:22

    THE SPANISH TRAGEDY. (1587). Thomas Kyd. **.This is a very difficult play to read. I could not get through it, though I did my best. It’s importance rests on its early introduction of several different play practices. First off, it is claimed to be the first of “revenge” drama. It is also an early example of drama using the play-within-a-play technique. Some of the critical commentary I’ve read since attempting to read the play also indicates that Shakespeare had a hand in its writing. So…it’s an important play for a lot of reasons…but none of them enjoyable. If you are taking a course in Elizabethan drama, I’m sure you will encounter this one. Be forewarned, however, that you will take several weeks in attempting to understand this play. Even when you do, you still won’t know quite where you are.

  • Ray
    2019-04-23 20:06

    Influential Elizabethan revenge tragedy. Old Hieronimo's son Horatio is killed by another Spanish noble who wants to advance his own family's interests and influence through a royal marriage. Unable to gain justice through the state, Hieronimo concocts a scheme for revenge, using a play-within-a-play. The Spanish Tragedy is rife with betrayal, murder, suicide, and madness--both real and feigned. Like most plays, it would be better to see this on stage than to read it, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless. [I actually read a different edition, an e-version of the play, slightly edited and with modernized spelling by editor Ernest Ruckle. This version of the play can be found at: http://www.archive.org/details/The_Sp... ]

  • Azma
    2019-04-27 13:29

    This interesting play of the Elizabethan period was worth the day of reading it. Shakespeare's figurative language is better done, but this story was quite decent and well paced and would be nice to see performed. It was utilized in Orhan Pamuk's SNOW as a play within a play/novel and as an historical piece illustrative of unceasing disputes involving power, revenge, jealousy. The Ghost in it is said to precede Shakespeare's ghost in Hamlet. Kyd's play can nevertheless be appreciated on its own merit.

  • Martin Genet
    2019-05-02 15:11

    This now, seldom performed play requires careful reading, but if you are interested in revenge tragedies then it is certainly worth reading. I studied this text for a university paper and found it fascinating. It has a lot of similarities to Hamlet and if you have read that, I certainly think you should read Kyd's play. Both plays have inner plays that function as meta- theatrical devices that suggest that art has considerable power and ability to function as an agency for change.

  • Kat
    2019-05-01 20:25

    This was Hamlet before Hamlet. Name any trope in Elizabethan revenge drama and you'll find that this play started it all. The difference is that the main female protagonist is Bel-imperia, who is strong, independent, sexy, and badass in such a way that isn't seen on the English stage for another several hundred years later.

  • Emily
    2019-04-28 14:13

    I really enjoyed this read! It actually made me laugh out loud at parts, was I meant to live in the 1600s?

  • Seamaiden
    2019-04-27 19:29

    I read it as a source for Hamlet. I actually enjoyed Hamlet too. I can see the similar patterns but for me these two plays are different, really different.

  • Sabrina
    2019-04-23 15:33

    3.5*

  • Ithil
    2019-04-30 20:07

    Leído como lectura obligatoria por la carrera de Estudios Ingleses la verdad es que es una obra que he disfrutado mucho. Y que seguramente, de no haber sido por la carrera, no habría leído. El inglés es algo demandante, pero esta edición tiene bastantes notas al pie de página que hacen que la lectura sea más comprensible. Aunque, por otro lado, también enlentecen el ritmo. Imagino que para personas familiarizadas con el inglés no tendrá mucha complicación. En general es una obra muy disfrutable.Además, siempre me resulta curioso ver como los ingleses representan a los españoles, y en este caso también a los portugueses. Sobre todo con los nombres, que a veces ponen cada cosa que, siendo español piensas "¿Cómo se te pudo ocurrir pensar que esto iba a ser una buena idea?". Siempre me intriga y fascina mucho leer, el punto de vista, y la concepción que tienen personas de otros países, en otras épocas, de los españoles. Suelo tener un punto débil con las historias de venganza y grandes elementos dramáticos. Por lo que si estos son factores que os atraen a vosotros también, os recomendaría darle un tiento. No obstante, creo que el teatro, más que para ser leído, está para ser visto. Como opinión personal. De esta forma, una de las cosas que me gustaría poder ver en la vida es una representación de la Spanish Tragedy.

  • Dandi
    2019-05-15 16:20

    assigned for class and i doubt that the professor planned it this way but this was an oddly appropriate read for late october--spooky and bloody and tragic and totally compelling

  • Jackson Cyril
    2019-04-20 16:20

    *yawn*

  • Ann-Marie
    2019-05-11 16:18

    Not gonna lie, I did find some parts of this boring, but the ending was so much fun! (I do realize I'm talking about a tragedy here) Kyd wanted fot this to go out with a bang, and it sure did. 3.5* or something like that, I guess.

  • Majestic Terhune
    2019-05-09 17:08

    With beautiful language and tragedy indeed,I found this play quite worth the read.

  • Francisca
    2019-04-26 20:32

    And princes, now behold Hieronimo, | Author and actor in this tragedy, | Bearing his latest fortune in his fist: | And will as resolute conclude his part | As any of the actors gone before. | And, gentles, thus I end my play: | Urge no more words: I have no more to say. The secret to success and enjoyment in life is to nourish and nurture low expectations—about pretty much everything. That is the best piece of advice I entail to pass on to future generations when I am old and cranky(ier.) That being said, I can genuinely state that the reason I loved this play so much was precisely because I expected nothing from it (besides getting done with an assignment.) I was wrong. I loved it. More people should read this.But this is a hard story to recommend. After all, Renaissance plays are not something considered as hot and trendy reading material nowadays. In fact, the only reason I read was for my uni course—I did not even know it existed until last week when I went through this term's syllabus. And that is this story's curse. More people should know about this, thus more people will read it, eventually resulting in more people loving it. But more people knowing about it and praising would seriously endanger the possibility of sustain low expectations for it in the end. Still, it does not matter because, in the grand scheme of things, there are many things to love and many reasons for it to be read. First, in his hand he brandished a sword, | And with that sword he fiercely waged war, | And in that war he gave me dangerous wounds, | And by those wounds he forced me to yield, | And by my yielding I became his slave. List of reasons I loved this:-Political intrigue (which is always entertaining.)-Court intrigue (because everyone distrusts everyone and therefore, everyone must try to kill and overpower each other.)- Strong female characters (I'm talking Lady Macbeth's level of baddassery here)- Beautiful writing ( heart-breakingpoetical dialogues)-Plenty of references to Greek and Latin figures (recognising them made me feel smart.)List of reasons I did not love this:- The font was a bit funky?- This review might have looked a bit short without something else to add, so here is an extra sentence.I can really stress much in terms of details about which sections I liked the most. Plays are short and usually fast reads (finished this in one afternoon, high-lighting sections and everything.) As well, I have always had the sense that dramatic summaries are either extremely vague or they tell you every single action inadvertently. I am not going to try to give away the plot of this story—in fact, a part of me (the part that is always trying to justify my laziness) might agree that it is best to read this without knowing much about it. Remember all done within the fair game of low expectations. Get some clues from the title, have a quick assessment of the dramatic personae, and go. And yes, I know it is slightly ironic for me to offer such high praises for something I explicitly said had been a result from my low expectations. Let's call this a tactical decision: ignore my opinion and still go ahead and take a quick look at it. See what happens then, okay? Then haste we down to meet thy friends and foes; | To place thy friends in ease, the rest in woes. | For here, though death hath end in misery, | I'll there begin their endless tragedy.

  • Rachel
    2019-05-09 15:15

    Some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read!

  • Simon Mcleish
    2019-04-30 16:13

    Originally published on my blog here in June 2001.Given how many devices are new in The Spanish Tragedy, it is absolutely astounding how well it works. Written in the early 1590s, possibly not by Kyd, it was the innovative precursor of techniques used by Marlowe, Shakespeare (Hamlet might be based on another, lost, play by Kyd), and the Jacobean revenge tragedies.The plot of The Spanish Tragedy is a complicated revenge story, which is set up by the characters of Revenge personified and the recently killed Don Andrea, watching from Hell the events which follow Andrea's death. They have little bits of dialogue between the acts, like a chorus; Andrea is keen for his death to be avenged, and continually accuses Revenge of falling down on his job. (There is good reason for the accusation - Revenge actually falls asleep during the third act.)The Spanish Tragedy was one of the first plays in English to follow the ideas of Seneca, though it did not do so completely slavishly (its four rather than five acts are quite unusual, and it doesn't have the action off stage). It includes a favourite device of the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage, the play within the play (in addition to the Christopher Sly-like scenes for Revenge and Don Andrea). It also has the distinction of innovating iambic pentameter blank verse, which makes the play easier to read than some of its contemporaries and seems more familiar to us than alternatives through Shakespeare's use of it.It is clear that The Spanish Tragedy is technically innovative and accomplished, but it is more than that. Even across the gulf of over four centuries it manages to be engrossing and exciting, putting it in a class with the best drama of its time.

  • Carol Arce
    2019-04-22 15:24

    The Spanish Tragedy is described as the first revenge tragedy. And it is truly a tragedy as defined by Tom Stoppard in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: a tragedy is when everyone who can die, does die. The body count in The Spanish Tragedy ends up at 10! There are striking similarities between The Spanish Tragedy and another revenge tragedy that followed it, but is much more widely known, read and performed: Hamlet. Both plays feature a ghost who wants revenge for his death. The ghost in Hamlet is Hamlet's father who has been murdered by his brother so that he might become king of Denmark, a cold-blooded and malicious deed. The ghost in The Spanish Tragedy is Andrea who is killed in battle with Portugal, which...isn't that what happens in wars? People get killed? What if the family of every soldier killed in battle sought revenge for their loss? The main actor in Hamlet is Hamlet, the son who has been asked by the ghost of his murdered father to get revenge for him. Oddly, in The Spanish Tragedy the main actor is Hieronomo who isn't seeking revenge for the ghost of Andrea at all but for the murder of his son Horatio who is murdered by Balthazar, the same man who happened to kill Andrea in battle. The Spanish Tragedy just doesn't seem to be as well thought out and as cohesive as it could and should be. It may seem a little unfair comparing Kyd to Shakespeare, but anyone who has read Hamlet (which is almost everyone) will not be able to help making the comparison and what they will conclude is that Shakespeare's characters are much more fully developed and his language is much more beautiful. The Spanish Tragedy may have been the first of its type, but that does not necessarily make it the best of its type.

  • Yngvild
    2019-05-04 12:26

    I had to read The Spanish Tragedy several times before I could get the rhythm and "enact" it in my head. It is, most certainly, a play to perform on stage, not one to read like a book. Very likely, that was why it was more popular than William Shakespeare’sHamlet, Prince of Denmark, before either were printed, and why it is less popular now. Thomas Kyd’s language has a rich, rolling sound and some of the speeches are splendid. It is not at all like Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, which is what I was expecting, but more like Shakespeare with his unexpected phrasing. . . night, sad secretary to my moans . . . violent shot resembling th’ocean’s rage - gapes to swallow neighbour-bounding lands . . . I will consent, conceal.The story, and it does have a story, is gripping. The final play-within-a–play, not a mere entertainment as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but an important part of the plot, leaves the stage strewn with more bodies than either Hamlet or King Lear, but without the numbing bloodiness of Titus Andronicus.HIERONIMO.O eyes, no eyes, but fountains fraught with tears;O life, no life, but lively form of death;O world, no world, but mass of public wrongs,Confused, and filled with murder and misdeeds! -- The Spanish Tragedy (probably Thomas Kyd, circa 1587-1592)

  • Roman Clodia
    2019-05-19 19:09

    'Hieronymo's mad againe'This tends to be looked at as *the* original Renaissance revenge tragedy that takes its roots from Seneca and other Latin sources, and which kick-starts a dramatic genre which flourishes via Titus Andronicus and Hamlet through to The Revenger's Tragedy, The Changeling and others.The play itself is a wonderfully macabre story framed by a ghost and the figure of Revenge who sit on stage throughout watching over the drama that we are watching, while the deaths pile up. Amongst the gore, though, are important debates about a feudal blood-price culture of personal revenge vs. a more social sense of legal justice - and the play questions the efficacy of the latter alongside the ethics of the former.So while there are important matters at stake here, the play is also hugely and almost shockingly enjoyable. It's also fun to spot the way its plots, lines and props get lifted by a sneaky William Shakespeare: the scarf that turns into the handkerchief in Othello, the play-within-a-play which is repeated in Hamlet, Hieronymo's struggles with whether, and how, he can live which re-emerge in Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' speech.It's a bit of a shame that Kyd's play has almost become a series of sources for Shakespeare: it would be nice to give back primacy to the drama for its own sake.