Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy shaped the work of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Both are revenge tragedies that include the mystery of death. Behind the mystery, there is a spirit of the dead who appears before the protagonists, Hieronimo and Hamlet, to cry out for revenge. In The Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet, soliloquy plays an important role. It is often used to express the true feelings of the main characters. In both tragedies, the protagonists use soliloquy to demonstrate a central dilemma that slows the main character’s process of vengeance.
The dilemma is that it is sinful to commit a murder, but it is also unfair to keep the criminal alive. Their soliloquies show their desire to commit suicide to escape from the dilemma. Another obvious dilemma is that suicide is a sin as well. Thus, the question is whether to live to satisfy the ghost and be damned, or to kill oneself and be damned. Realizing revenge as the better choice of the two, both mad geniuses decide to seek revenge at last. Soliloquies also display the character’s madness.
It is their uncertainty, their attempt to reveal the truth, and their mind persistently seeking for reason that drives the avengers to some extent of madness; however, they are not completely insane. Their madness only acts as a disguise so they seem harmless. Both Hieronimo and Hamlet are deceitful. They stay close to the murderers as a mad person grieving for the death of their loved ones, then they act to their plan when it is least expected. The two avengers succeed in the revenge. Of course, the heroes, along with many other characters in the play, die at the end.
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