Elizabethan Revenge

Melvyn Bragg and guests Jonathan Bate, Julie Sanders and Janet Clare discuss Elizabethan and Jacobean revenge tragedy. From Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Elizabethan stage was awash with the bloody business of revenge. Revenge was dramatic, theatrical and hugely popular. It also possessed a fresh psychological depth in the way vengeful minds were portrayed through a new dramatic device: the soliloquy. But these tales of troubled individuals, of family wrongs and the iniquities of power also spoke to an audience for whom the vengeful codes of medieval England were being replaced by Tudor legal systems, by bureaucracy and the demands of the state above those of the individual. Therefore, the heady brew of hatred, madness, violence, evil deeds and righteous anger found on stage reflected the passing of something off stage.

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  • Jonathan Bate 16 episodes
    Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick
  • Julie Sanders 5 episodes
    Professor of English Literature and Drama at the University of Nottingham
  • Janet Clare No other episodes
    Professor of Renaissance Literature at the University of Hull

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Programme ID: b00l16vp

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00l16vp

Auto-category: 822.3 (English drama during the Renaissance period)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In Thomas Kidd's play, The Spanish Tragedy, a father seeks redress for the murder of his son.