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The Spanish Tragedy Essay

2413 words - 10 pages

The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd is a founder play of the tragedy during the Elizabethan period since it raises important issues of this time, such as the cruel and unfair death, revenge, social status as well as allegiance to the sovereign. These topics reached the population and it is probably due to this that The Spanish Tragedy was successful at the time. This paper will focus its analysis on the scene 2 of the first act, which is a short but meaningful passage of the play. This passage, which takes place at the beginning of the play, gives an idea of the initial situation. It allows the reader to become familiar with the characters, to know their role in the play and their intentions. This essay will be divided into four parts falling into line with the speaking turns of characters in this scene. The first part will focus on the General’s speech to the King of Spain. The second part will be concerned about the three times when Hieronimo pleads his son's cause to the King. The third part will look at the discussion between Balthazar, Prince of Portugal and the King of Spain. The fourth and final part will address on the quarrel between Lorenzo, the Spanish King’s nephew and Horatio, Hieronimo’s son and on how the King solves the quarrel by rewarding them for their acts.
The second scene of the first act of this play begins with a discussion between two characters, the King of Spain and the General. All begins when the King asks the General how goes his "camp ", in other words his army. General tells the King about the battle (lines 1 to 115). First, the General says everything is fine except for some losses. The General announces that the victory is on the Spanish side. The King asks details and here the General begins the long speech about fighters and theirs bold efforts rewarded by the capture of the enemy prince, Balthazar. This first part will centre on the theme of allegiance to his sovereign here the General's allegiance to his king.
At the beginning of this scene, the first impression given to us is positive, since the news that the General brings to his King, are beneficial for the country's reputation. This spirit of optimism and thoughtlessness is ironic allowing for the fact that the reader is aware of the tragedy that will follow. As predicted by Revenge at the end of the Act I, scene 1:

REVENGE. Then know, Andrea, that thou art arrived.
Where thou shalt see the author of thy death,
Don Balthazar, the prince of Portugale,
Deprived of life by Bel-imperia.
Here sit we down to see the mistery,
And serve for Chorus in this tragedy. (I.i.86-91)

Revenge announces from the beginning that Bel-imperia will revenge Don Andrea, killing Don Balthazar. The fact to be aware from the beginning of what will follow makes the reader more responsive to the actions of the characters and their intentions during the play. However, despite the tragedy that will take place the General is glad to tell the King his army's feats, he even...

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