‘The Spanish Tragedy’ (1). Characteristics of Renaissance Tragedy Like Greek Tragedy the tragic hero is flawed. At the heart of Renaissance tragedy there.

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  • Slide 1
  • The Spanish Tragedy (1)
  • Slide 2
  • Characteristics of Renaissance Tragedy Like Greek Tragedy the tragic hero is flawed. At the heart of Renaissance tragedy there are instigators of ruin/downfall (this represents fears and anxieties about the way society may go Machiavellian).
  • Slide 3
  • Revenge REVENGE is taken into the tragic heros own hands. There is, however, still a sense of resignation a sense that there is no control over ones fortune. When Hieronimo takes revenge is he really taking his own initiative or is he subject to higher forces?
  • Slide 4
  • Spiritual Authority As in Greek Tragedy there is still the presence of higher or larger forces; however... There is a questioning of spiritual authority (who is in control of the acts of revenge the individual or God?). A court of law punishes. Social forces govern what happens (rather than God). The Spanish Tragedy gives us cause to question spiritual authority. Have the Gods withdrawn from human affairs? Hieronimo appeals to the Gods, but his appeal falls on deaf ears. At the beginning of the play there is a letter dropped from the sky (is this sarcasm?). Comedy has a puncturing effect by making a mockery of things which people take seriously is the play making the tragic point that the higher forces that many of us want to believe in are not active?
  • Slide 5
  • Power and Control Each character in the play may think they have control; however all are subject to someone elses control. Framing of one audience by another by another (God watching us watching the play).
  • Slide 6
  • The Rational This is quite a significant characteristic of Renaissance Tragedy - there is a need for reason and justification (unlike in The Bacchae where there is no need for tribunals or discussions before an act of revenge is carried out irrational).
  • Slide 7
  • Recognition and Realisation In Renaissance Tragedy (like Greek Tragedy) there is a moment of RECOGNITION or REALISATION. However, note that in The Bacchae there is no confession - the main characters have no knowledge of doing wrong this is shown to them by the Gods. In The Spanish Tragedy, on the other hand, there is an explicit confession (this is typical of Elizabethan tragedy).
  • Slide 8
  • The Individual Renaissance Tragedy is much more about the individual. Masks are not used. The play is about mans relation to each other (rather than mans relation to the Gods). Very individualistic is this reflective of the period?
  • Slide 9
  • Act 1 Scene 1 Andrea a courtier having an affair with a higher ranking woman secret. Andrea goes to war and then dies and is buried at sea. Asks the gods for letters of protection which allow him to wander as a ghost. Revenge is a character a tangible thing personified. Andrea did not choose Revenge this was chosen by Prosperpine Queen of the underworld. Queen of the underworld is showing Andrea what happened and why he died (King of Portugal). What could you say about power and control or spiritual authority here?
  • Slide 10
  • Act 1 Scene iii Let fortune do her worst no control over fortune resignation to fortune. The Viceroys complaint of Fortune contributes to the plays preoccupation with justice and retribution. Villuppo explicit confession typical of Elizabethan tragedy.
  • Slide 11
  • Act 1 Scene v In this scene Revenge is distant from the character Andrea; however at the same time is acting on behalf of Andrea disconnected but also linked. What might you say about this?
  • Slide 12
  • Act 2 Scene ii This scene provides an account of what has happened leading us to (and attempting to) justify revenge in a rational way. How does this reflect the Renaissance period?
  • Slide 13
  • For HWK Re-read 3.5.1 1-18 (Enter Boy with Box) What themes/issues, present in the play as a whole, do you think this scene illustrates? How would you get these themes/issues across through: kind of stage; use of stage space; set design; lighting; costume; movement; gesture and intonation


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