The Use of Symbolism and Imagery in Tourneur's The Revenger’s Tragedy

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The Revenger’s Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur, was written using symbolism and imagery, which comes from the protagonist (The revenger) Vindice. A main trait of a tragedy is that there will be a downfall of a character within the play, in this case from the opening scene the protagonist, Vindice, is the clear culprit for an emotional meltdown and a tragedy all of his own. These themes of symbolism and imagery in The Revenger’s tragedy are a connection between what is right and wrong. In the first character whom is introduced into the play and is of a high social background, we know this because throughout the soliloquy Vindice speaks using Iambic pentameter (blank verse) however when the character Vindice is in disguise he speaks in prose …show more content…
Firstly the use of masks in the play is an important factor, this is because it hides whom he really is and it is also in keeping with the time period. The mask also gives the audience a visual change to notice the difference between the two separate characters that Vindice really is.
From the first soliloquy we know that the family of a high rank are not as they should be and all act in very immoral ways, for example ‘duke, royal lecher; go, grey-haired adultery;’ this suggests that the duke passes out information to the people of what he wants them to do and how to behave however in his old age he has done wrong to his people. Spurio the son of the Duke was conceived outside of marriage, ‘and thou the bastard, true-begot in evil’, and therefore he is not the Duchess’s son, and the Duke’s son by marriage Lussurioso is known to be as evil as his farther ‘as impious steeped as he’. And finally the ‘Duchess that will do with the devil’ she is having affairs behind the dukes back and will continue to do so willingly. This extract shows the family for whom they are ‘four excellent characters!’ This ironic tone shows the audience that the family is anything but excellent. According to T. S. Elliot, there could be found in The Revenger’s Tragedy the “loathing and disgust of humanity.” This could link to the royal family and all the sins of mankind including lust, adultery, incest, rape, murder, gluttony and avarice are revealed within this family

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