“That only I to all men just must be, And neither gods nor men be just to me”.Hieronimo (The Spanish Tragedy: Act 3, Scene 6)
‘The Spanish Tragedy’ subtitled ‘Hieronimo is Mad Again’ is an Elizabethan revenge 😡 drama scripted ✍️ by Thomas Kyd. Thomas Kyd instituted a new genre 👉 of revenge drama in the English literature and also pursued the Senecan practice of the ‘tragedy of blood’ 🔴. ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ is supposed to be written 📄 in the mid or late 1580s and the earliest surviving edition was published in 1592.
Revenge 😡 with the Ghost of Andrea 👻
‘The Spanish Tragedy’ opens with the chorus in which Revenge along with the Ghost of Andrea enters to wait 😏 for the death ☠ of Balthazar – the son of Viceroy of Portugal 🇵🇹 in the hands 🖐️ of Bel-Imperia – Andrea’s mourning 😢 lover. Proserpine – the queen 👑 of underworld 🦹♀️, goddess of fertility and agriculture 🌾🌴🌳 has commanded both Revenge and the Ghost of Andrea to observe his death ⚰️. Revenge is personified ☠️ as a character in the play who accompanies the Ghost of Andrea to seek out revenge 😡 and desires to see what happens 🤔 in ‘The Spanish Tragedy’
Balthazar as Prisoner
Balthazar is brought as a prisoner after the war between the Spain and Portugal 🇪🇸⚔️🇵🇹. He is caught by Lorenzo – the son of the Duke of Castile as well as Bel-Imperia’s brother and Horatio – the son of Hieronimo, the Official Judge or Knight Marshal ♞ of Spain 🇪🇸 . Both of them are rewarded 👏 by the King. Horatio receives the ransome 💰 while Balthazar’s horse 🏇 and weapons 🗡️🏹 are given to Lorenzo. Balthazar even though captured as a prisoner is housed in lushness at estate 🏘️ of the Duke of Castile.
Why the prisoner is living in luxury if he’s imprisoned 🤔? Is anybody planning something else for both the countries to unite? What would that be 🤨?
Bel-Imperia Knows About Andrea’s Death 😢
Bel-Imperia meets Horatio and asks him to detail the death of her beloved Andrea. Horatio narrates 🗣️ how brave and valiant he was on the war front 🛡️. He reveals that he himself performed the funeral rites and has removed a scarf 🧣 from his body which will be wore by him upon his friend Andrea’s honor.
The Scarf 🧣
“Yet this I did, and less I could not do:
I saw him honoured with due funeral.
This scarf I plucked from off his lifeless arm,
And wear it in remembrance of my friend”.Horatio (The Spanish Tragedy: Act I, Scene 4)
The scarf 🧣 which Horatio now wears in the memory 😌 of his friend was gifted to Andrea by Bel-Imperia before the war ⚔️. The scarf was a symbol of love 💕 between Andrea and Bel-Imperia. She recognises 😯 the scarf and is impressed 😙 to see Horatio securing 🔐 it. She falls for Horatio which she also considers as a revenge 😠 against Balthazar who has also confessed his for Bel-Imperia.
“But how can love find harbour in my breast,
Till I revenge the death of my beloved?
Yes, second love shall further my revenge”.Bel-Imperia (The Spanish Tragedy: Act I, Scene 4)
The Marriage ⚭ An End to the Enmity
The King 👑 has come up with the solution to the enmity that exists between Spain and Portugal: the marriage ⚭ of Balthazar and Bel-Imperia. She refuses 🙅♀️ to accept him and rebuffs 😏 his advancements towards her. Still, Lorenzo persuades Balthazar to woo 😚 her convincing that she would eventually accept him as her partner ⚯.
Horatio is Murdered 😦
“Both well, and ill: it makes me glad and sad:
Glad, that I know the hinderer of my love,
Sad, that I fear she hates me whom I love,
Glad, that I know on whom to be revenged,
Sad, that she’ll fly me if I take revenge.
Yet must I take revenge or die myself,
For love resisted grows impatient”.Balthazar (The Spanish Tragedy: Act II, Scene 1)
Bel-Imperia meets Horatio in the garden one evening 🌅 while her servant Pedringano was guarding the gates ⛩️. Pedringano betrays her, informs 💭 Lorenzo and Balthazar of their meeting. Pedringano and Serberine – Balthazar’s servant is sent disguised 🎭 to murder Horatio. Horatio’s body is hanged in the garden 🏞️ from an arbour and is stabbed to death 😩. Bel-Imperia calls for Hieronimo, Horatio’s father for help, but she is carried by four of them 😣.
Dawn of ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ 🌤️
“See’st thou this handkercher besmeared with blood?
It shall not from me till I take revenge.
See’st thou those wounds that yet are bleeding fresh?
I’ll not entomb them till I have revenged.
Then will I joy amidst my discontent,
Till then my sorrow never shall be spent”.Hieronimo (The Spanish Tragedy: Act II, Scene 5)
Hieronimo and his wife Isabella find their son drenched in blood. They cry and grieve for the loss of their son. Hieronimo pulls out the blood drenched scarf pledges to avenge the death of his son bit his wife warns ⚠ him and requests 🙏 him to stay in patience.
“The heavens are just, murder cannot be hid:
Time is the author both of truth and right,
And time will bring this treachery to light”.Isabella (The Spanish Tragedy: Act II, Scene 5)
The Ghost of Andrea 👻 waiting for the death of Balthazar has witnessed the death his bosom friend which made him angry 😡 and sad 😔. But, Revenge consoles him saying that Balthazar’s death is near…
Drama in the Portuguese Court
“Thus have I with an envious, forged tale
Deceived the king, betrayed mine enemy,
And hope for guerdon of my villainy”.Villuppo (The Spanish Tragedy: Act I, Scene 3)
In the court of Portuguese, a nobleman named Viluppo informs 💬 Balthazar’s father – the Viceroy of Portugal that his son is shot dead 🔫 by another nobleman named Alexandro. Alexandro is immediately imprisoned and sentenced to death 😩 while Portuguese Ambassador is sent to fetch if the news 📰 is true. The Portuguese Ambassador returns confirming that Balthazar is alive 🙂. Alexandro is released with a reward 💰 while Viluppo who had lied to earn glory is executed 💀 for betrayal.
Bel-Imperia’s Letter ✉️
When Hieronimo and Isabella was mourning 😢 for their son, Hieronimo receives a letter ✉️ from Bel-Imperia revealing the murderers of Horatio’s murder and begs him to avenge his death. Hieronimo wants to prove Lorenzo and Balthazar has murdered Horatio and searches 🔎 for Bel-Imperia. But she was found nowhere. He inquires to Serberine but it was useless.
Serberine and Pedringano is Wiped Out
Lorenzo who was present when Hieronimo enquires about Bel-Imperia suspects 🤨 that he has betrayed 😖 them and arranges to murder 🔪 him too. Pedringano is arranged to murder him but on other side, Lorenzo betrays 😏 and orders the authorities to arrest Pedringano for committing murder. He is hanged 🙄 and so anybody else 🤫 who os aware of Horatio’s murder, except Bel-Imperia is wiped out.
Hieronimo to Seek Justice ⚖
Isabella – Horatio’s mother turns mad 🙁 after the death of his son and commits suicide in the same garden 🏞️. Hieronimo was also turning insane but pledges to seek justice ⚖️ for his son through legal actions 📋 and tries to inform 🗯️ the King of Horatio’s murder but these advancements are hindered by Lorenzo. Lorenzo also informs 🗯️ the King that Hieronimo has gone insane after the death of his son and is now obsessed 😶 with Lorenzo for taking the ransom money 💰 of Balthazar which according to the right, belonged to Horatio. Hieronimo is suspended 🤦♂️ by the King due to these warnings who is now considered as a mad man.
Will The Marriage Be Conducted 💍?
The King 👑 of Spain 🇪🇸 asks Hieronimo to stage a play to Hieronimo who was also a poet 📃 and playwright 📑. He asks for an entertainment 🏟️ as the Viceroy of Portugal 🇵🇹 has come to attend the wedding 💒. Hieronimo seeks the help of Bel-Imperia 😏 and convinces Lorenzo and Balthazar to take part in the play.
“Now, lordings, fall to; Spain is Portugal,
And Portugal is Spain, we both are friends,
Tribute is paid, and we enjoy our right,
But where is old Hieronimo, our marshal?
He promised us, in honour of our guest.
To grace our banquet with some pompous jest”.King of Spain ( The Spanish Tragedy: Act I, Scene 4)
Why has Hieronimo chosen his enemies in the play 🤨? What will happen during the play 😕? Is the bloody tragedy coming 🥺?
The Play Ends in Bloodshed
The plot of the play is structured where a marriage 💍 is conducted between a Spanish Knight ♞ and an Italian 🇮🇹 woman 👩 which eventually ends in suicide and murder. When they enact the play, Bel-Imperia stabs 🗡️ Balthazar and finally stabs herself. Hieronimo also murders Lorenzo, confesses 🗣️ that what is happening isn’t play, but real and runs ⛩️ behind the stage to hang himself.
Will Hieronimo be caught or will he succeed in committing suicide?
Hieronimo is Caught ⁉️
Hieronimo is caught and ordered to confess but he bites off his tongue 👅not to reveal the truth and letting them to torture 🥴him. The Duke of Castile insists on confession and brings him a paper 📄 and pen 🖋. But Castile stabbed to ✒️ death by the pen by Hieronimo and later kills himself.
The Underworld 👻🧟♀️👺
The Ghost of Andrea and Revenge is now happy as his death is avenged ☺️. Lorenzo, Balthazar and Pedringano are all destructed 😖 who will now meet up in hell 🔥. Andera is happy 😊 to live his eternal life as he is going to welcome 🤗 Bel-Imperia, Horatio, Hieronimo, and Isabella to his eternal life. The play ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ ends leaving no one alive. The evil 😈 and vituous 🙂 characters are seen dead by the end of the play.
‘The Spanish Tragedy’ is a play structured with four acts and 31 scenes 📑. It is believed that this play has been the inspiration and source 📚 for many other English tragedies like ‘Hamlet’. The play is set in Portugal 🇵🇹 and Spain 🇪🇸 with Lorenzo as the antagonist. ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ is considered a modern adaptation to the classical tragedies scripted ✍️ by Seneca.
The Spanish Tragedy – Buy Now !
Naeema JaleelWriter at Inclined Scorpio
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