The Spanish Tragedy | Study Guide

Thomas Kyd

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The Spanish Tragedy | Act 3, Scene 8 | Summary



Isabella and her maid discuss which herbs Isabella can take to heal her breaking heart, but realizing that nothing will ease her pain, she runs through the house calling for Horatio. The maid tries to calm her, saying that her son sleeps in the Elysian Fields. In the slipping of her mind, Isabella seems to confuse herself with reference the maid makes to her own soul, and then seems to see her son in heaven before asking where she can run to find the murderers.


This short scene demonstrates the unhinging of a parent's mind when the unnatural death of a child must be accepted. The loss of an only son is especially terrible, since with him dies the continuation of the blood line; a very important issue, especially considering that the father of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, died leaving only a sickly son who did not survive into adulthood. Isabella's encroaching symptoms of madness is a prelude to Hieronimo's madness.

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