Comments: 6
BrokenTune 3 months ago
Is that a writing choice? I mean, would the Revenger have been seen as a moral conundrum if successful and glorifying revenge as a successful path?
Typically the fact that justice has not been served by the proper means is repudiated by the death of the revenger - hence the genre being a sub-genre of Tragedy. Things rarely go as planned and often innocent parties suffer or die, making the necessity of killing the revenger as well as the persecuter even more morally necessary. Hamlet is a great example of this. Contrast this with modern revenge-themed movies where the revenger gets off consequence-free, apart, perhaps, from impermanent injuries, or the movie just ends without exploring the aftermath at all.

In this play, two brothers have tried to kill off their elder brother and rescue their younger brother from prison - where he's held on the rape charge that incites the whole play - but their efforts result in entirely opposite effects: Elder brother escapes and younger gets executed. The Revenger has not acheived this. He does manage to kill off the Duke, their father, though, so it's a score of one death to revenge, one to suicide and one to cock-up, but cock-up also scores a life saved - hence acheiving more than Revenger has - so far.
BrokenTune 3 months ago
I had an additional thought about this: Typically the revenger suffers and dies because of his scheming but the reason for taking justice into his own hands is that recourse to the proper authorities is not an option for some reason - usually the authority is the perpetrator of the crime requiring revenge or is closely allied to the perpetrator. This puts the revenger in a no-win situation from the outset. There are other tropes of the genre, too...
BrokenTune 3 months ago
When was the play written? It's fascinating to see the tropes develop through different times and genres, too.
Seems like it was first performed in 1606 and probably written not much before. The genre sprang in to existence with The Spanish Tragedy (Thomas Kyd, first play in this volume) which was written somewhere in the range 1582 - 1592 with most of the features that would become tropes fully formed and the remainder embryonic at least. It seems to be some kind of response to Classical Tragedy, where somebody defies the gods but cannot escape a pre-ordained Fate. The Revenger's Tragedy is missing a couple of the common tropes of the genre - there's no ghost and there's no play-with-in-a-play. Some consider it a satirical subversion of the genre but so far I'm not seeing that.