Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Spanish Tragedy - Thomas Kyd

Another apocrypha play. Though this one is almost certainly the work of the playwright Thomas Kyd according to experts. The apocrypha claims are that Shakespeare maybe revised a few parts of the play. This is based on handwriting analysis.

With the links to Shakespeare seemingly being so small and tenuous I simply sat and read the play as a piece of entertainment. Not really looking to make any judgements upon it.

It was a really enjoyable read. Unlike the recent apocrypha plays I've read it was not at all stilted in any way. Having a very nice moseying flow to it. Had someone presented this to me and told me it was by Shakespeare I would not have suspected a lie. I'm guessing the similarity is simply down to the fact that it's from the same era. Which makes me suspect the recent plays I've read even more so. Though it could just be that this feels similar because, like Shakespeare, it's also very good.

It's a revenge tragedy, and at the end of the play almost everyone ends up dead (the similarities to the play Hamlet are particularly striking).

With the death and revenge taking place at the court of the Spanish king I couldn't help but imagine what it must have been like for English audiences watching at the time. Especially the final scenes. What with England being an enemy of Spain during this period. It would've been quite raucous I imagine.

On the Wikipedia page I notice that it states that English actors performed the play in Germany in 1601, and that Dutch and German adaptations were made. So I get the impression it played into Protestant sentiments quite strongly.

Finally, the lead female character in the play is called Bel-imperia. I only make note of this as I think it's a really attractive-sounding name. I would say it's a great name to christen a daughter, but would you want to name a child after a character that kills herself at the end of the play lol. Still, it would be very distinctive.

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