Vengeance is yours: Reclaiming the social bond in the spanish tragedy and titus andronicus

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Abstract

Since the 1960s the original reputations of The Spanish Tragedy and Titus Andronicus have been wonderfully recovered. We now recognise that their unprecedented successes on the Elizabethan stage were owed to their seminal representation of revenge. However, we have continued to see that representation as a product, in the public theatre, of the received values of conventional academic drama. This article disputes such assumptions. It seeks to show that the currently received idea of Elizabethan revenge as extra-legal retaliation has concealed a more radical link between the act of vengeance and the psychic damage suffered by the avenger. Instead, it argues that in these two plays the self is conceived of as fundamentally social - that is to say, as inseparable from the internalised sociality of the avenger. This means that the 'new drama' requires an enactment of individual subjectivity rather than a repetition of received verities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
JournalAtlantis: Revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos
Volume29
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Early modern subjectivity
  • Early Shakespeare
  • Identity
  • Kyd
  • Revenge tragedy
  • Titus andronicus

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