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Spanish Tragedy

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