The Spanish Tragedy

The Spanish Tragedy Summary and Analysis of Anonymous Additions

Several additional scenes are printed in the 1602 edition of The Spanish Tragedy. They are posthumous additions, and clearly composed by a hand other than Kyd's. The first occurs between II. v. 45 and 46; the second replaces III. ii. 65 and part of 66; the third occurs between III. xi. 1 and 2; the fourth comes between III. xii and xiii; and the fifth replaces IV. iv. 169 to 192. Philip Edwards provides an authoritative gloss:

The first, second, and last of the Additions have little commend to them; their literary quality is slight and they do much damage to Kyd's careful unfolding of plot and character. The third Addition is an imaginative piece of rhetoric which does not distort the original play; the fourth is the famous 'Painter scene' and stands head and shoulders above the rest. (lxi)

It seems that the Painter's scene, at the very least, is worth considering. But the final judgment of the additional scenes can only be passed by each individual reader, as it is altogether possible that hitherto unnoticed treasures lie in the marginal scenes.

Fourth Addition, between scenes xii and xiii

Hieronimo's two servants Jacques and Pedro enter the scene. Jacques wonders why Hieronimo has sent for them at midnight. Ever since Horatio's death, remarks Pedro, their master has been "much distraught" and "grows lunatic," sometimes apostrophizing his dead son. Hieronimo enters, searching for Horatio in the garden. He notices his servants and asks them why they have their torches lit in the dark. Despite his claims to the contrary, Hieronimo shows clear signs of madness: "Light me your torches at the mid of noon," he declares. But this is not without reason, for he bears a personal grudge against the night. In the treacherous night was Horatio killed, and if only the moon had shone, Hieronimo believes, the murderer would have seen the grace on Horatio's face and dropped the murder weapon.

Isabella enters the scene and entreats Hieronimo to return indoors. As they converse, a painter knocks on the door. Hieronimo wishes him to come and "paint some comfort." The painter, however, has his own agenda: he desires justice for the murder of his only son. Hieronimo bids everyone else leave and sits down to converse with the painter, who turns out to be the famous artist Don Bazardo. Hieronimo thus asks him whether he can paint the scene of Horatio's murder in impossible detail, with sound and movement, culminating in a frenzied request: "Make me curse, make me rave, make / me cry, make me mad, make me well again. . . and so forth." The painter agrees up until the very last and asks: "And is this the end"? At this, Hieronimo cries that "the end is death and madness!" and beats the Painter into the house. He then reemerges with a book in his hand (thus leading in to the "vindicta mihi" speech).


In the opening of the scene, Hieronimo shows signs of madness through his inversion or confusion of such common antitheses as night and day, or sorrow and mirth. The language has a poetic quality clearly distinct from that of Kyd:

Hier.Light me your torches at the mid of noon,
Whenas the sun-god rides in all his glory:
Light me your torches then.
Ped. Then we burn daylight.
Hier. Let it be burnt. (IV.ixxa.28-31)

Hieronimo's alliteration of the letter "l," which is a light enunciation that twice begins the word "light," resonates entirely inappropriately in the gloomy dark scene. He furthermore finds himself saying "we are very merry, very merry" while standing at Horatio's deathplace, much to Isabella's astonishment.

When the painter enters and expresses his desire for justice, Hieronimo offers a pithy retort: "An ounce of justice, / 'Tis a jewel so inestimable!" Don Bazardo resembles the senex Bazulto in the dramatic function that he serves. Hieronimo identifies intimately with the requests of both men, who have had their sons murdered. Both men therefore trigger a bout of madness in Hieronimo. In the painter scene's case, the effect is something of a psychological exploration. Having heard the painter's great skill in his art, Hieronimo requests a recreation of the murder scene. He makes impossible demands - realistic noise and movement, to begin with, and plenty of surrealistic detail to follow: "Let the clouds scowl, make the moon dark, the / stars extinct. . . the toads croaking, the minutes / jarring, and the clock striking twelve."

What the painter agrees to recreate is essentially Hieronimo's own vision of the fateful night. But what lies at the end of the vision? Declares Hieronimo: "O no, there is no end: the end is death and madness!" To continue along the vision, as Hieronimo has surely done many times over and over, leads to dangerous results. The painter, then, becomes a symbol of Hieronimo's imagination. He must be beaten back into the house, so as to keep "death and madness" at bay.