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“The Revenger’s Tragedy” a Play by Brain Gibbons Essay


Literary work is a reflection of what is happening in the society. Authors normally voice their opinions about issues affecting the society through various themes. These themes are closely linked together through analysis of a character’s actions.

In the contemporary society, introduction of literature research has extensively increased the volume of literature in every topic of interest researchers may be interested in especially in use of expression tools such as metaphors to present a symbolic view that a character display in a play or a book. As a matter of fact, irrespective of the level of knowledge and understanding of research facets, literature versions are inclusive of literature tools such as metaphors.

Literature comparison is about enjoying the phrases, feeling the narrator’s words in action, imagining, and placing oneself in the writer’s shoes. Writings with consistent assumptions and symbolic insinuation add comprehensiveness to sentence structures or phrases with hidden meaning. The play, “The Revenger’s Tragedy” by Brain Gibbons presents a violent and vivid portrait of ambition and unending lust in an Italian community.

Specifically, this play typifies artistic cynicism and satire to present a picture of a revenge quest that culminates into unfounded tragedy for both parties. Thus, this analytical treatise attempts to explicitly prove that revenge is dehumanizing in the play. Specifically, the paper concentrates on the death of the King and his attitude and treatment of his mother. Across the paper, the analysis draws critical reflection on the events that culminate into revenge and their eventual results.

Gibbons was successful in addressing hypocrisy that was dominant in the early century in the theme of revenge desires. This theme forms the foundations upon which the society of this play was built.

It resonates across generations since its influence is inherent. Revenge desires as a thematic touch on identity crisis, tradition, manipulation, and marriage. The play “The Revenger’s Tragedy” portrays deep decay in political and moral parameters of the society. Irrespective of social class, religious inclination, size of accumulated wealth, epoch inclination, and beauty, death kisses people equality every time it knocks on the door of its victim. The tragedy delves on love, life, and tyranny.

As a matter of fact, the key antagonists and protagonists demise eventually. Interestingly, death is presented as a redeemer of what each character stands for. Specifically, Vindice forms the image of an avenger who links economic disparities and female chastity to plot a dehumanizing plot on the old irresponsible king. Thus, “the smallest advantage fattens wronged men” (Gibbons 1.2.98).

The king is morally bankrupt and very corrupt in dispensing his authority on the subjects. Irrespective of the position of a person, revenge is presented as a poisonous object that sweeps away both the antagonist and the ‘revenger’. Despite having been an ideal person at the beginning of his quest, Vindice incessant activity resorts to the very ideals he protested against in the process of fulfilling “that bald Madam Opportunity” (Gibbons 1.1.55).

Reflectively, Vindice becomes the victim of moral decadence and follows the ill practices concocted by the nobility in the society. In the process of revenge, the dehumanizing acts of aimless killings, habitual lying, and irresponsibility replaces gentlemanly attributes that were associated with him. Revenge is a continuing inspiration to overturn the wrongs that were committed by a third party.

When internalized, though may appear fulfilling, the art of revenge inspires hatred and unreasonable response to stimuli. For instance, in the process of plotting a revenge on the King, Vindice climbs overboard and convinces his parent to resort to prostituting his only sister Castiza to complete the revenge plot.

Reflectively, the journey towards revealing truth makes him adopt a ‘Machiavellian cynicism’ that undermines his quest. He states, “Thou hast no conscience; are we not revenged? Is there one enemy left alive amongst those” (Gibbons 108).

In the end, Vindice loses his outstanding personality and replaces it with self righteousness that is characterized by distributing blames and hanger on innocent third parties. He claims “And therefore I’ll put on that knave for once…for to be hones is not be in the world” (Gibbons 1.1.93). Vindice can be described as an agent of his own downfall. In the end, just like the slain King, Vindice ends up dead while fulfilling the burning desire to avenge.

Across the play, the same fate crowns Hippolito, Ambitioso, Lussurioso, and Supervacuo. Death is a natural thing, and despite the fact that it is a sad affair, it might be less hurting if someone dies a natural death. However, Vindice, Ambitioso and Spurio fail to redeem themselves from the consequences of revenge and ends up in an unending holocaust.

Specifically, the moral weakness of Vindice is seen when his personal indignation on the manners of the court and corrupt system of the judiciary metamorphoses into a radical immorality of a crime he later commit. As a result, Vindice states “the foul practice hath turn’d itself on me” (Gibbons 5.2. 299-300). Death is a tragedy that is unexpected, and it is not pleasant at all. The ground as to why inhabitants do not appreciate death is because it causes emotional damage and pain.

The bitterness and resentment of Vindice make his vows that “in the midst of all their joys they shall sigh blood” (Gibbons 5.2.22). In a twist of events, these words culminate into the tragic destiny of Vindice. Thus, revenge is dehumanizing since those plotting it resort opt for the murders as political expedients of convenience and stimulates cosmic disorders in the society.

The play ends in the purges that horrify other characters. Vengeance becomes the only Pyrrhic victory to these characters obsessed with the tasks of fulfilling tasks that are pre-ordained. For instance, Vindice states, “I do repent but heaven hath pleas’d it so…that I must be their scourge and minister” (Gibbons 3.4.173).

This arouses inhuman acts of indiscriminate revenge actions with ill motives. For instance, Middleton’s my inspiration towards revenge was to institute a revulsion arousing dramatic tool. Besides, Vindice idolized revenge and painted it with words like “sweet, delectable, rare, happy, and ravishing” (Gibbons 3.5.1).

This arouses suspicion into the underlying motives which sends Vindice into a medieval vice. Thus, revenge cripples these characters with hatred that culminates into premeditated murder. As a result, revenge “throwne luck upon the forehead of our state (Gibbons 1.2.4). Moreover, the remedy of the court was an alternative resort that was exercised only when disputes happened.

The judicial proceeding was intended to provide solutions to existing disputes. The court was responsible to handle injustice cases that had already happened in the society and reassure the mass of fairness and accountability. However, the King’s revenge motives completely defaced the functions of this court. In his bid for revenge and center power, the King neglected justice in the court.

Revenge games compromises integrity of the parties involved. Reflectively, this happens due to the fact that some of the players are naïve, while others are indifferent. For instance, Vindice is unhappy at his parent’s inability to resist bribery. The mother states, “I blush to think what for your sake I’ll do” (Gibbons 2.1.24). In this aspect, revenge is dehumanizing in its characteristic of making parasites out of people, internalizing corruption, and being the engine that drives greed and unending lust for advancements in the social endeavors.

All the characters in the revenge matrix have selfish and debased ambitions that inspire their urge to maintain the status quo irrespective of any collateral damage in the process. Interestingly, the Duke who should symbolize justice and moral authority asserts that “I’ll try them both upon their love and hate” (Gibbons 2.3.86).

In fact, Vindice’s reaction reveals an unfounded hatred, ignorance and blindness of high magnitude as they climaxed. In an ironic tone, Vindice retorts, “Pray heaven their blood may wash away all treason” (Gibbons 2.3. 98). The other revenging characters destroy Vindice as a survival tactic on realizing that he plans to destroy them.

Justice was a notion that concerned duties and rights of people in this society. Justice was an interpersonal concept that sought to resolve conflict among people. Nevertheless, this was not to claim that inferior interests were suppressed. Justice aimed to sustain and build right behaviors while judicial court was responsible to deliver judgment among peoples. However, the rejection of justice by the King resulted in series of revenge plots that swept the morals and ethics of this society.

Works Cited

Gibbons, Brian. The Revenger’s Tragedy, New York: Norton, 1967. Print.

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"“The Revenger’s Tragedy” a Play by Brain Gibbons." IvyPanda, 12 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/dehumanizing-revenge/.

1. IvyPanda. "“The Revenger’s Tragedy” a Play by Brain Gibbons." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dehumanizing-revenge/.


IvyPanda. "“The Revenger’s Tragedy” a Play by Brain Gibbons." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dehumanizing-revenge/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "“The Revenger’s Tragedy” a Play by Brain Gibbons." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dehumanizing-revenge/.


IvyPanda. (2019) '“The Revenger’s Tragedy” a Play by Brain Gibbons'. 12 August.

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