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Spanish Tragedy

Main Ideas Key Facts
Main Ideas Key Facts

title The Spanish Tragedie, Containing the lamentable end of Don Horatio, and Bel- imperia: with the pittifull death of old Hieronimo.

author Thomas Kyd

type of worek Play

genre Tragedy

language English (with interspersed Latin)

time and place written 1582–1592 (most likely in the late 1580's), England

date of first publication 1592

publisher Edward Allde

narrator Andrea and Revenge serve as quasi-narrators

climax There are two: the murder of Don Horatio in Act II.v, and the playlet Soliman and Perseda, in IV.iv.

protagonist Hieronimo, the Knight-Marshal of Spain

antagonists Lorenzo (primary) and Balthazar (secondary)

setting (time) Late sixteenth-century

setting (place) The Spanish and Portuguese courts, and the estate of the Spanish King surrounding his court

falling action After killing Lorenzo and Balthazar, Hieronimo runs off to commit suicide. The King, the Viceroy, and the Duke of Castile attempt to stop him, and question him; but he ends up biting off his tongue. When he asks for a knife to sharpen his pen so that he can write out a confession, he stabs himself and the Duke of Castile.

foreshadowing The "dumb-show" in Act III.xv; Lorenzo's threats in II.ii.

tone Ironic; serious; tragic

themes Justice and revenge; love and memory; fortune; reality vs. appearance

motifs The Classical World vs. the Christian world; Machiavellianism; antithesis and irony; the meta-theater

symbols The bloody handkerchief