The protagonist of the play, Vindice is the brother of Hippolito and Castiza and the son of Gratiana. He is vengeful for many reasons. He blames the Duke for the deaths of his father and his beloved Gloriana, and then targets Lussurioso for his attempts to seduce Castiza. Vindice will go to any length for revenge, and often uses disguises and false identities to carry out his complex plots. Even though Vindice is ultimately successful in enacting his revenge against the Duke and his son, his arrogance gets the better of him. Filled with pride and convinced of the righteousness of his actions, Vindice blurts out a full confession to Antonio. Antonio is horrified, however, and sentences both Vindice and Hippolito to death.
The brother of Vindice and Castiza and the son of Gratiana, Hippolito is a (false) friend and adviser to Lussurioso. He is secretly plotting with Vindice to bring down both Lussurioso and his father, the Duke. Hippolito and Vindice both harbor resentment towards the Duke for the way he treated their late father and vow to punish Lussurioso for his depraved pursuit of their sister. They are successful in enacting revenge, but Vindice's prideful confession leads Antonio to sentence the brothers to death.
The Duke is most powerful man in the court. He is married to the Duchess and stepfather to her three sons, Ambitioso, Supervacuo, and Junior. The Duke has one legitimate son from a previous marriage, Lussurioso, as well as a bastard son named Spurio. The Duke is corrupt, power-hungry, and lustful. Many characters plot against him, including his own wife and his son. The Duke dies in agony after Vindice tricks him into kissing the skull of a woman the Duke once wronged (who also happened to be Vindice's beloved).
The Duchess is married to the Duke and the mother of Ambitioso, Supervacuo, and Junior (from a previous marriage). The Duchess has an affair with Spurio, partly out of her resentment towards her husband for not intervening to pardon the rape charges against Junior. Lussurioso banishes the Duchess from the realm after the Duke's death.
The son of the Duke and half-brother to Spurio, Lussurioso is duplicitous and just as lustful as his father. He orders Vindice, disguised as a pander, to procure the chaste Castiza for him. When Lussurioso finds out about the alleged affair between Spurio and the Duchess, he tries to seek revenge, but ends up in prison instead. After the Duke is killed, Lussurioso wears a guise of humility but is secretly thrilled to be in power. Lussurioso is killed at the revels by the masked Vindice, who seeks to punish the newly crowned Duke for his depraved pursuit of Castiza.
Spurio is the Duke's bastard son. He is bitter and vengeful because of the circumstances surrounding his illegitimate birth. He hates everyone in court, including his own family. He has an affair with the Duchess to anger his father but is ultimately killed by a lord during the final bloodbath.
The son of the Duchess and the brother of Ambitioso and Junior, Ambitioso is manipulative, ambitious, and vengeful. Motivated by his own desire to be Duke, he kills his brother, Supervacuo, at the end of the play. Ambitioso's triumph is short-lived because Spurio quickly kills him in return.
The son of the Duchess and brother of Ambitioso and Junior, Supervacuo is hot-tempered, ambitious, and vengeful. He is not as adept in crafting plots as Ambitioso, with whom he often clashes. Supervacuo proclaims himself Duke during the final revels but is swiftly killed by his brother.
The youngest son of the Duchess, Junior is put into prison for the rape of Lord Antonio's wife. He is brash and lustful and feels no remorse for his crime. Although his brothers (Ambitioso and Supervacuo) plot to get him out of prison, their plan goes awry and Junior is executed.
Antonio is a nobleman and one of the only decent characters in the play. He is deeply troubled after Junior rapes his wife, who kills herself soon thereafter. After the bloodbath at the revels, Lord Antonio becomes leader of the realm. He enacts justice by sentencing Vindice and Hippolito to death in an effort to cleanse the court of corruption and deceit once and for all.
Gloriana was Vindice's beloved who was murdered 9 years before the play takes place. Gloriana refused to succumb to the Duke's lustful advances, so he poisoned her. Vindice carries around her skull as a reminder of his vengeful agenda.
Gratiana is a widow and the mother of Vindice, Hippolito, and Castiza. Vindice, in disguise, convinces Gratiana to sell Castiza to Lussurioso for jewels and money. Disappointed, Vindice eventually reveals his true identity and chastises his mother for her moral lapse. She repents and her son forgives her.
Castiza, the sister of Vindice and Hippolito and the daughter of Gratiana, is chaste and beautiful. She refuses to give in to Lussurioso's advances.
The wife of Antonio whom Junior rapes before the play takes place. She commits suicide because she cannot overcome the shame of being raped.
A nobleman and ally of Antonio's.
Castiza's servant who likes to make silly jokes.
One of Lussurioso's followers.
One of Lussurioso's followers.
The Revenger’s Tragedy Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Revenger’s Tragedy is a great
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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...