The Evolution of Morality in English Renaissance Revenge Tragedy
Beusse, Jeffrey Henry
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The purpose of this paper is to study the evolution of morality in the Revenge Tragedy of the Renaissance. In the first of the two chapters a historical view of the problem is presented, taking into account such things aS pre-Renaissance dramatic traditions, the social ambivalency toward the revenge question, and the establishment of an anti-Machiavelli feeling in England. The second chapter studies the English playwrights' attempt to reach a conclusion on the validity and morality of the use of revenge as an instrument of justice. The chapter places a special emphasis on the use of the Machiavell-character as a technical vehicle to help determine the final conclusion toward revenge. I have limited the number of plays examined to those which I feel to be typical of the Renaissance revenge-tragedies, and yet still regarded as outstanding works of that period.