Apocalypse and Armada in Kyd's Spanish Tragedy.Frank Ardolino's allegorical reading of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy claims to uncover a biblical and historical subtext sub·text
1. The implicit meaning or theme of a literary text.
2. The underlying personality of a dramatic character as implied or indicated by a script or text and interpreted by an actor in performance. that has largely been lost to readers over the last four hundred years Four Hundred Years was a melodic screamo band from Richmond, VA. Although they were only together for just over two years, the band produced two full-length releases and a compilation of singles on Lovitt Records. . Although The Spanish Tragedy could hardly avoid referring to England's conflict with Spain, even if written wall before 1588, Ardolino asserts that this revenge play symbolically reenacts a specific instance of divine retribution that (for Kyd and his audience) was carried out against the Spanish Armada by the English fleet off Calais. He consequently dates the play (first performed in 1592) as no earlier than 1588.
Ardolino's analysis brings an ingenious order to many of the play's perplexing per·plex
tr.v. per·plexed, per·plex·ing, per·plex·es
1. To confuse or trouble with uncertainty or doubt. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. To make confusedly intricate; complicate. turns, such as the tremendous bloodletting bloodletting, also called bleeding, practice of drawing blood from the body in the treatment of disease. General bloodletting consists of the abstraction of blood by incision into an artery (arteriotomy) or vein (venesection, or phlebotomy). of the final scene, when Hieronimo not only avenges his son's murder but also kills the duke of Castile and stabs himself. But the worth of this study lies less in the force of its general argument than in its tremendously useful discussion of specific historical and biblical allusions. To offer but one example, Ardolino says that the play's obsession with revenge - brought out by the repetition of the word itself, by the character of Revenge, and by the general ethos of revenge - recalls Sir Francis Drake's flagship, Revenge, and so also its role in the defeat of the Armada. This reference is as difficult to prove as the parallels that Ardolino finds between Kyd's characters and the names of various English and Spanish ships (given that hundreds of vessels took part in the famous battle). Nevertheless, his analysis of the English revenge play within the context of the allegorical and biblical names that the English gave to their ships is highly suggestive.
The study, divided into two sections, "Apocalypse" and "History," addresses several levels of meaning in the play, first biblical and then historical. For Ardolino, Kyd justifies Hieronimo's acts of revenge primarily by syncretizing the classical concept of destiny and the Christian concept of divine providence. Senecan vengeance prevails, but in the guise of a modern Daniel (Hieronimo) who defeats a doomed Babylon (Spain). Ardolino also shows how the Protestant reading of the Book of Revelation might allow Kyd's audience to see Hieronimo not as a usurper USURPER, government. One who assumes the right of government by force, contrary to and in violation of the constitution of the country. Toull. Dr. Civ. n. 32. Vide Tyranny, of God's role but rather as a divine instrument in the struggle against the Antichrist Antichrist (ăn`tĭkrīst), in Christian belief, a person who will represent on earth the powers of evil by opposing the Christ, glorifying himself, and causing many to leave the faith. .
The historical allusions that complement the Anglo-Spanish rivalry are more subtle than the biblical allusions because they entail a set of reversals, which in turn heighten the sense of revenge and irony. Ardolino observes how Hieronimo, before his playlet play·let
A short play.
Noun 1. playlet - a short play
drama, dramatic play, play - a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage; "he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway" , alludes to three plots in which "the representatives of Antichrist triumph" (91): Nero's killing of the Pisonian conspirators CONSPIRATORS. Persons guilty of a conspiracy. See 3 Bl. Com. 126-71 Wils. Rep. 210-11. See Conspiracy. , Lorenzo de' Medici's quelling of the Pazzi plot, and the Pads massacre of 1572 instigated by the Valois rulers of France This is a list of rulers and office-holders of France. Heads of state
At every step Ardolino demonstrates how the political and religious interpretations of the play complement one another. And yet I feel that the consequences of this dual reading do not receive the final reflection that they deserve. For many readers the study will succeed in its attempt to "restore the apocalyptic and historical meanings to The Spanish Tragedy" (166), but here the book ends with another assertion that the play was written after the defeat of the Armada. One misses the more interesting and even more compelling conclusions that Ardolino could draw from his important and provocative study.
GLEN CARMAN Car´man
n. 1. A man whose employment is to drive, or to convey goods in, a car or car. DePaul University