Spanish Tragedy

by: Thomas Kyd

Act I, scene ii–iii

Summary Act I, scene ii–iii

Scene ii also introduces Kyd's fondness for antithesis. Antithesis is the development of contrast, usually in a parallel structure. A perfect example of this is contained in Balthazar's speech describing his capture by Lorenzo and Horatio. "To him in courtesy, to this perforce", says the young prince, referring to Lorenzo and Horatio respectively. He then begins a series of contrasts between the two, defining one as a fierce warrior, the other as a verbal manipulator. Kyd uses this passage primarily for the purposes of characterization, setting Horatio and Lorenzo off against each other as foils: both proud young men, but one prone to interact directly, honestly and fiercely while the other (Lorenzo) is prone to using verbal guile. These characterizations will prove true over the rest of the play. The ending, however, again provides a slight ironic commentary, this time on the proud Balthazar; for though the two warriors pursued radically different tactics, in the end it doesn't matter: he "yields [him]self to both."