A Level English: Introduction into Revenge Tragedy

Revenge Tragedy

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QUOTE! “When the bad bleeds, then is the tragedy good”- meanings include, but are not limited to:

(a).When the criminal/villain dies, the play becomes entertaining

(b). When the protagonist dies, the ‘tragedy’ is fulfilled.

(c). Justice is served when the antagonists are punished

(d). The tragedy is not ‘good’ when the promise of death is not fulfilled.

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Revenge tragedy was already popular with Elizabethan and Jacobean audiences. Some critics have suggested that the result of the repressive actions of the crown to ensure law and order was maintained (executions and imprisonment were very real threats) was the arguable consequent attractiveness of the Elizabethan and Jacobean audiences to such ‘forbidden behaviour’ which they could not otherwise take part in or enjoy themselves. This trend was arguably recognised by playwrights such as Kyd and Shakespeare, and 17th century revenge tragedies often featured violence and bloody carnage to satisfy the wary intrigue of their audience.

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