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The Spanish Tragedy (New Mermaids) 3rd ed. Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1408114216
ISBN-10: 1408114216
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Editor Andrew Gurr is Professor of English at Reading University.

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Product Details

  • Series: New Mermaids
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama; 3rd ed. edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408114216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408114216
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joost Daalder on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
J.R. Mulryne's edition of *The Spanish Tragedy* is without a doubt the best that may at present be bought: informative, helpful, intelligent and accurate in introducing the text, presenting it, and glossing difficult words and phrases where necessary. The play is among the most exciting and artistic of its period. Kyd writes, and constructs his plot, with a level of skill comparable to that of Shakespeare, who was much influenced by *The Spanish Tragedy*, particularly in writing *Hamlet*, which is possibly yet "richer", but undoubtedly less clear and focused. Kyd shows us in an extremely sophisticated way the workings of revenge, both at an earthly and at a supernatural level. From the beginning the audience knows, in a way that the characters do not, that the supernatural world will insist on revenge. The pain of those who suffer injustice here on earth and clamour for revenge is painful to behold. Ultimately, however, in a baffling way, evildoers are punished: Hieronimo, the main character, manages to take matters into his own hands after exhausting all other possibilities, and thus ironically enacts the wishes of the higher powers. The FORM of Hieronimo's revenge is extraordinarily interesting: under the cloak of art - of a theatrical plot - he manages to kill his evil opponents quite easily. The tension between "art" and "life" is thus handled by Kyd in a very innovative fashion which still shocks modern spectators and readers. The role of language, too, is called into question: much of the play demonstrates that in real life finally action does speak louder than words, which often do not make their point or simply get ignored. Any reader who wants to get a notion of the superb quality of plays written by Shakespeare's contemporaries is certain to admire and enjoy this striking work of art. - Joost Daalder, Professor of English, Flinders University, South Australia
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Format: Paperback
The Spanish Tragedy (1592) was a remarkably popular Elizabethan revenge play that substantially influenced other Elizabethan playwrights including Shakespeare. The gruesome, neo-Senecan melodrama, Titus Andronicus, dates from 1594; Hamlet was first performed in 1602.

I knew little about The Spanish Tragedy at the time of my first reading (and review) in 2003. In retrospect I failed to appreciate fully Thomas Kyd's Senecan framework, especially the significance of the prologue by the ghost of Andrea, the role of the supernatural Revenge, and the varied scenes in the underworld of Roman mythology - all found in the first act. I am not certain whether I even realized that the ghost Andrea and Revenge remained on stage throughout the play, invisible to the actors, but clearly visible to the audience.

I wrote that although I was confused with intervention of pagan gods and that the numerous murders seemed excessive, I still considered Kyd's tragedy warranted four stars. Having recently returned to The Spanish Tragedy (as part of a collection of Elizabethan revenge tragedies), I am now much more enthusiastic (a solid five stars).

I no longer find the two intertwined plots to be puzzling. I now see the thoughtless injustice suffered by Hieronimo in the Spanish court as mirrored in the random, capricious behavior of the gods: the confusion the deceased Andrea encountered upon entering the underworld, Proserpine's arbitrary, even frivolous suggestion for Revenge to aid Andrea, and the gods's uneven punishments meted out to the murderers of Horatio (and to others only marginally involved with crime). This disturbing parallel reflects Kyd's nihilistic and pessimistic view of life: not even the intervention of the gods offers any assurance of rational justice.
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Format: Paperback
"The Spanish Tragedy" is one of the rarest books of its kind, which has revenge as its central theme, and though it portrays other themes, they all, essentially are secondary to the main theme.
What pains me, as a reader is that its worth and merit are so obscurely recognised. It's not given the honour it deserves. Thomas Kyd, the author's life is as obscure as his greatest work. This, despite the fact that he was one of the formative influences on Shakespeare. In fact, much of the technique of dramturgy of Shakespeare, especially in Hamlet, is borrowed from "The Spanish Tragedy"--the enactment of a play within a play, as is done in the climax.
The play reflects revenge at every turn--whether it be of Bellimperia's or Horatio's or Hieronimo's. And Kyd has made masterful use of the blank verse and symbolism to lay before the reader, the emotions which his characters undergo. Hieronimo's incessant lament at the treacherous murder of his son, his almost insane babblings...are but fine examples of the use of blank verse in a play.
It's a pity that this work is so rare--in fact it's almost out of print. Wish someone'll do something to popularise it and give it its due.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This brilliant play is one of the inaugurators of Elizabethan drama and unfortunately rarely performed. The poetry still resonates even in written form. To appreciate what follows, it is advisable to start with Kyd. Shakespeare, Jonson took their cues from him. A revenge play or the Theatre of Blood this play should strike a chord with modern audiences, accustomed to cinematic excesses. It is curious that Kyd does not have a greater following then he does.

Simply put, the play will delight and profoundly answer many questions as to why Elizabethan drama so pertinent even to this day.
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