One of the most influential plays of the English Renaissance, it is one of, if not the pioneering work in its genre, the revenge tragedy. Its playwright, Thomas Kyd, not only roomed with fellow renaissance playwright Christopher Marlowe, but also penned a version of the Hamlet story that preceded that of Shakespeare, and which Shakespeare's is believed to be based upon.

"The Spanish Tragedy" is a very complex play, and as such, difficult to summarize. However, a few highlights include the fact that, despite the fact that the play begins with the death of Andreas, a courtier of the Spanish court, and ends with his ghost's proclamation of his grand revenge being completed, Andreas appears only in the framing dialogue, next to the narcoleptic spectre of Revenge and occasional references; most of the action surrounding an entirely different group of characters, and, my girlfriend's favorite, an incidence of revenge pursued against a location in which a murder was committed, rather than the murderer.

"The Spanish Tragedy" was published in 1589, was performed throughout the Elizabethan period, and was considerably more popular than Shakespeare's contemporary plays. It was also referenced in Ben Jonson's "Every Man In His Humour". A later reference may be found in the final stanza, third line to the last, of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.

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