Discuss The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd as a ‘Revenge Tragedy’.
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The Spanish Tragedy is a revenge tragedy. Its very premise is put forth by the character from the underworld named Revenge. But what exactly is revenge? A principle, an act, a desire for satisfaction, or something else altogether? The premise of the play may suggest that revenge is indeed an arbitrary matter. Andrea, after all, was slain in battle by Balthazar, and this does not seem reason enough for the large-scale revenge tragedy that follows. In any case, Hieronimo, Bellamira-and to an extent Balthazar-all act out of the desire for revenge. The play-within-a-play in the fourth act marks the culmination of this desire. The acting of revenge resolves all the tensions of the play in one blow. Incidentally, the term "avenge" did not carry the modern-day connotation of the act of inflicting punishment as retributive justice; like the connotation of "revenge" today, it also pointed to the infliction of pain in retaliation for a real or imaginary wrong.