Classical to Renaissance Tutorial Participation Response on The Spanish Tragedy The Spanish Tragedy is a play, which revolves quite dramatically around the contextual issues of revenge tradition and Justice. Smith’s argument of the historical position of the tragedy draws closely on the study of the contextual elements embedded including that of Elizabethan executions and trials. She claims that the audience of the Elizabethan era were familiar with the “spectacle of the hanged body and the disemboweled and quartered corps” thus reinforces that this spectacle is reused by Ked in the composition of The Spanish Tragedy.
Smith makes reference to the executions of the Elizabethan era as a stage or a “scaffold” in which the stage of execution provided the audience a source of entertainment. She further emphasizes this notion through the construction of the Triple Tree in Tiburon 1571, where a permanent structure for public hangings was built thus correlates the construction of these buildings to the public theatre through forms of entertainment. Thus, entertainment becomes the medium between early execution and the modern stage. The Spanish Tragedy focuses directly on death as the roots for the themes of revenge and Justice.
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Smith maintains that the public executions within England parallel to dramatic deaths within plays by suggesting, “contemporary narratives about public hangings and executions frequently insist on theatrical analogy. ” Thus, by recounting the tale of public executions, one cannot go without describing the events without dramatically actions. The Spanish Tragedy reimburses this idea through its fixation on unveiled murder and public executions. For instance, when Lorenz and Blather conspire and ultimately kill Horopito there is the same medium of performance and executions displayed.
Smith asserts that the audience are mirrors of Bell-lumpier as she witnesses the execution through a hidden lens therefore her shock also mirrors that of the audience. Smith emphasizes Kid’s exploitation into the audience’s interest in corpses by staging Hortatory death as a bloodied tragedy and compares the spectacle of the human body to that of Shakespearean Hamlet where there is an absence of it. To emphasis the audience’s fixation on mutilated corpses, he reaction of Hormone as he finds the corpse reveals, “What savage monster, not of human kind, hath here been glutted with thy harmless blood?
And left thy blood corpse dishonored here… ” The continuous reference to the body and the positioning of the body further exemplifies Smith’s argument dramatically allusions within dialogue. This motif of blood is also symbolized through the use of the handkerchief as it represents the memory of love and consequently a desire for revenge. The handkerchief parallels with blood as Horopito takes it off Andrea in his sat moments, and then is taken by Hormone whilst he dabs it with Hortatory blood.
As Hortatory blood reaches the handkerchief, it turns from a token of commemoration bring to Justice his son’s murderers. This is further reiterated when Hormone contemplates suicide whilst he is carrying the handkerchief. Thus, the constant reference of the handkerchief to blood and death holds some significance as a reminder to the audience of the need to avenge death as well as brings about concerns of execution and public hangings. Within The Spanish Tragedy, the performance of the actors determines the distance f separation between the criminals and the audience.
Smith’s claim based on Michael Faculty’s argument reveals that public executions were a means for public display of attitudes “Under the protection of imminent death. ” By doing so, Faculty argues that the criminals could be turned into heroes as their public display of attitudes towards authority served as a mockery. Smith also emphasizes that enacting an authentic public punishment places a distance between the spectacle and the spectators. Within Kid’s tragedy, there is an imbalance of power displayed as
Hormone questions the power of the state and its power as it failed to protect innocent people like his son, much so, as does the Ghost and his desire for his wronged death. Furthermore, Smith’s argument of “borrowing” implies the complexity of staging an authentic execution. Within The Spanish Tragedy, Ked embeds multiple perspectives into the key scenes of death to further manipulate the audience’s reactions. The chains of murder that occur, wrongly or rightly, reveal to the audience the nature of executions as well as its consequences; that even the innocent are framed for political action.
The staging of the deaths of Horopito and Pedestrian and especially the mutilation of Horopito both create further allusions into the startling reality of the executions within the audience’s context. The other characters’ response such as Hormone and Bell-lumpier also contribute to the argument of executions for political advancements, as their tragic nature mirrors the audience’s reaction. Smith’s argument therefore suggests that the theatre presented to the audience a question of power through its distortion of characters that attempts to invite the audience to “a re-evaluation of the spectacle of the terror itself. ”