Revenge tragedy is the form of drama, where prime motive is revenge, and several times, this objective is filled through poetic justice. Most revenge tragedies have the appearance of malevolency, with a scene of blood-shed, slaughter etc., which disposes the avenger and its list of victims. This form of drama became quite predominating during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, and came to the much higher tone in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Besides, there are also other fine examples of tragedy works in the classics such as Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (staged between 1589 and 92), Henry Chettle’s The Tragedy of Hoffman (staged in the year 1602), and Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy (performed in the year of 1607).
Why Thomas Kyd is the Father of English Revenge Drama?
Thomas Kyd (lived between 1558 and 1594) was an English dramatist who saw high rise in popularity but this popularity very soon jaded away into almost absolute dimness after his passing away. Several centuries later, he was re-discovered in a unique way, acclaimed by the literary scientists as dominant dramatists of thetimes of Elizabethan era.
It is the Thomas Kyd’s play titled – Spanish Tragedy, Kyd, which sheds light on the genre of “revenge tragedy” in English literature. This drama later on had influence on popular playwrights, among them were the William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. The human sins of jealousy and revenge were beautifully depicted, and then a remedy was sought within the strong plot of the play.
Quite significant to know – Kyd had no formal education, but despite his limitations, he was completely well-known and knowledgeable about the life and the issues that humans faced in their respective roles. Kyd belonged to the class of “SURPRISES. He had good command and high level of fluency in Latin and Greek language.
It seems comical, when one hears – the Community of University Greats have tried to come near to the style of Kyd’s Latin drama for the English stage, but every attempt made came as complete vanity and nothing else. Kyd was the first, and he will always remain the first, no matter what methodology or digital technology intellectual mind set likes to put into use.
Kyd is one of the ONLY DRAMATIST of its kind, who had rejuvenated the classical tragic form, with all its aggression and apprehension, using English and sentences that were nowhere obscure to the general audience and not completely melodramatic in feel. How an uneducated Dramatist from the 16th century did it, still leave the psychologists into a complete vexation. The level of penetration of Thomas Kyd’s plot cannot be compared to the Malevolic or Jacobean literature. In fact, the outcome is outrageously exciting, real and yet doesn’t leave the streak of DARKNESS anywhere.
Thomas Kyd’s – The Spanish Tragedy (staged c. 1587), opens with the Ghost of Andrea and Revenge, and gives out a totally unique way to look towards Hieronimo, a Spanish gentleman affected by downhearted in the aftermath of his son. He becomes mad, and between the bouts of madness, he tries to discover his son’s murders. He becomes the Hero and then obliterates his life – it is the avenge on the murderer’s of his son, and then continues to take revenge on himself.
The literary trait that Kyd had in him was unique. He is in the forefront, when it comes to the interpretation of the masterworks of the past, as well as created original masterworks for the people living in his own times.