The Spanish Tragedy | Study Guide

Thomas Kyd

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The Spanish Tragedy | Act 3, Scene 15 | Summary



At an undetermined location concluding Act 3, the Ghost of Andrea finds Revenge asleep and angrily shakes him awake. Revenge replies on the order of "I was only resting my eyes a while," and reminds the Ghost of Andrea that sleep is often the most appropriate preparation for drastic action. As if to placate him, Revenge summons in a Dumb Show of mimes and narrates the action. Two torchbearers followed by Hymen (the deity of marriage) enter. Hymen is not only dressed in his usual saffron robes, but also in black. Hymen puts out the torches with his breath and then drenches them in blood. The Ghost of Andrea, placated by the symbolic representation of this Dumb Show, resumes his seat to see the rest of the play to its end.


A slight bit of humor might be implied here; Revenge has fallen asleep during the play, just as audience members sometimes do when they are bored or not invested in the drama they are watching. The Ghost of Andrea seems to believe Hieronimo's show of love toward the Duke of Castile, Lorenzo, and Balthazar, and calls on Revenge to get up and do something about it. Revenge reminds the Ghost of Andrea that nothing is really as it seems on the surface—the more Hieronimo puts on a show to fawn on his enemies, the more he is in truth growing his hatred. Just as the more lethargic Revenge seems to be indifferent on the surface, the more Revenge prepares to activate the force of vengeance. The Dumb Show Revenge presents to the Ghost of Andrea clarifies the exact nature of how Revenge will use the high point of a marriage celebration to plunge everyone into anguish; a marriage intended to initiate a new beginning of everyone's hopes for the future will actually turn into their earthly end.

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