English Teacher Article Forum Policies- The Revenger's Tragedy

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In the Jacobean play The Revenger's Tragedy, the central figure, Vindice or Vendice, starts out as someone who has suffered injustice-  the murder of his love, but soon the play descends into a bloodbath where the victim has so exceeded any offence that he has become worse than the wrong he set out to right, only far worse.  It seems appropriate for the forum context that there are different spellings of the protagonist's name, and doubt about the identity of the author.

A summary of the plot shows how hard it is to follow:

Set somewhere in Italy. The main character is Vindice (or Vendice) who lives away from the court. The Duke poisoned Vindice's beloved nine years ago because she resisted him. His father has recently died from the Duke's unkindness. Vindice learns from his brother Hippolito that the Duke's eldest son Lussurioso is looking for an unscrupulous servant. He disguises himself with the name Piato and gets the job, which he finds involves seducing for Lussurioso his and Hippolito's chaste sister Castiza (most names are figurative). The Duchess has had three sons by a previous marriage, the Duke has one bastard, Spurio. Her Younger Son has raped the wife of a lord, Antonio; the woman killed herself, the Son is now in prison. The Duchess is wooing Spurio. Vindice is happy to find that Castiza is incorruptible, shocked to find their Mother eager to change her mind (she later repents). He reports to Lussurioso that he overheard the Duchess and Spurio agreeing to sleep together; Lussurioso breaks into the bedroom but find the Duke, his Father, with the Duchess. He is arrested for attempted assassination. The Duchess's two other sons hate Lussurioso; they forge an order for their "Brother's" execution. Only the Duke has forgiven Lussurioso and set him free; the only "Brother" remaining in prison is their Younger Brother, who is duly executed. The Duke asks Vindice to find him a chaste woman he can corrupt. In a secret place, Vindice gets the Duke to kiss a mask containing the skull of his own dead lady. Poison is hidden in its mouth, and as the Duke slowly dies he sees his wife and Spurio together. Lussurioso sacks "Piato" for his mistake and Vindice offers to "take his place" under his own name. His first job is to murder Piato. He and Hippolito dress the Duke's body in Piato's clothes and Piato is assumed to have escaped after killing him. Lussurioso becomes Duke, banishes the Duchess, and throws a party. Vindice and Hippolito play a masque, during which they kill Lussurioso and his three companions. The Duchess's sons with Spurio, arriving with a similar plan, find Lussurioso dead and kill each other over their claims to be Duke. Antonio becomes Duke and tries to understand what has happened. Vindice hopes to be praised by Antonio, assuming that he too wanted revenge, and boastfully tells what they did. Antonio fears for his own life and orders their immediate execution.
Jacobean and Caroline Drama- Summaries of major plays


Fights on forums often resemble this mess- people start out feeling they have been hard done by and end up doing far worse.  And they  are usually equally hard to  follow.  It's virtually impossible to stay clean in a dirty war, and sympathy for  the  wronged dries up once they start dishing it out and become no better or worse than those who  hurt them first.  Forums are a world where most people are using screen names, then some start using fake screen names to get back at people and fights can go  on for years in some cases.  If you have a grievance, please take it up  with a moderator instead of seeking revenge.

Categories: Editorial Policies, UsingEnglish Content

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