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Book Title: The Revenger's Tragedy. Thomas Middleton|
The author of the book: Thomas Middleton
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
The size of the: 828 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.7
Date of issue: March 1st 2012
ISBN 13: 9780199129546
Format files: PDF
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Vindice, seeking revenge for the death of his betrothed who has been poisoned by the lascivious Duke she spurned, enlists the aid of his brother Hyppolito, dons a disreputable pimpalicious disguise, and eventually destroys the corrupt world he inhabits together with what little was left of his own innocence.
Unlike the works of that universal genius Shakespeare, this play--which most modern scholars attribute to Thomas Middleton--could never be mistaken for a modern drama, for it is concerned neither with psychological depth nor consistency of tone; rather, it achieves its effects through a combination of impressive symbolic tableaux and highly-wrought language that together produce a complex moral perspective. Sometimes it seems like an absurd black farce in which soulless stick-figures rush toward inevitable destruction, and at others it appears more like a morality play or a Juvenalian satire with Vindice alternatively assuming the masks of the Vice or the Satirist. Underneath these masks, Vindice himself is infected by the evil he excoriates; he is both an avenging angel and a symptom of social and moral decline. Even the darkest corners of this world, however, are illuminated by Vindice's magnificent poetry--more beautiful than anything in Renaissance drama except for Marlowe, Webster and Shakespeare. If you won't take my word for it, check out what T.S. Eliot has to say on the subject.
On second thought, see for yourself. Below is a speech spoken by Vindice to his mistress' skull, which he holds in his hand and soon plans to use as an instrument in his elaborate plan of revenge:
"And now methinks I could e'en chide myself
For doting on her beauty, though her death
Shall be revenged after no common action.
Does the Silk-worm expend her yellow labors
For thee? for thee does she undo herself?
Are Lordships sold to maintain Ladyships
For the poor benefit of a bewitching minute?
Why does yon fellow falsify highways
And put his life between the Judge's lips
To refine such a thing, keeps horse and men
To beat their valors for her?
Surely we're all mad people, and they
Whome we think are, are not; we mistake those,
Tis we are mad in sense, they but in clothes. . .
Does every proud and self-affecting Dame
Camphor her face for this? And grieve her Maker
In sinful baths of milk, when many an infant starves,
For her superfluous outside--all for this?
Who now bids twenty pound a night, prepares
Music, perfumes, and sweetmeats? All are hushed.
Thou mayest lie chaste now! It were fine methinks,
To have thee seen at Revels, forgetful feasts,
And unclean brothels. Sure, t'would fright the sinner
And make him a good coward, put a Reveller
Out off his Antic amble
And cloy an Epicure with empty dishes.
Here might a scornful and ambitious woman
Look through and through herself. See Ladies, with false forms
You deceive men, but cannot deceive worms."
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Read information about the authorThomas Middleton (1580 – 1627) was an English Jacobean playwright and poet. Middleton stands with John Fletcher and Ben Jonson as among the most successful and prolific of playwrights who wrote their best plays during the Jacobean period. He was one of the few Renaissance dramatists to achieve equal success in comedy and tragedy. Also a prolific writer of masques and pageants, he remains one of the most noteworthy and distinctive of Jacobean dramatists.
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