The Spanish Tragedy | Study Guide

Thomas Kyd

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The Spanish Tragedy | Act 2, Scene 3 | Summary



This scene likely takes place at the Spanish court. The King of Spain, his brother the Duke of Castile, and the Ambassador of Portugal enter with their nobles and attendants, deep in discussion over the idea of having Castile's daughter, Bel-Imperia, betrothed to Balthazar. The duke admits she has been playing pretty coy, but he thinks she will surely come round to the match in time; at the very least, she is expected to be a dutiful daughter and marry whomever her father chooses. This satisfies the king, and he tells the ambassador to suggest the match to the viceroy, as it would further bind Spain and Portugal. To sweeten the deal, the king states that not only will her dowry be "large and liberal," but that she is half-heir to her father's lands. In addition, once married, the tribute from Portugal to Spain would be released. If the happy couple were to have a son, the King of Spain, who has no son of his own, declares he will make Balthazar his heir. This all sounds pretty good to the ambassador, who states that he will do his best to persuade the viceroy to the match. But before Balthazar can go free, the king reminds the ambassador that the ransom must be paid to Horatio; the ambassador responds that the ransom money is on its way.


The Duke of Castile has, at this point, no idea that his daughter has taken up another romantic "fling" with a knight of lower rank. Given that he has already expressed his severe displeasure over her dalliances with Andrea, he is quite certain she should be more than willing to obey her father's wishes.

While the king can order inheritances at his command, the idea of a daughter receiving half her father's estate during this period in England would have been most unusual. It can only be speculated how Lorenzo will take it that his natural share as only son would have to be shared equally with his sister.

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