Analysis of Hieronimo in The Spanish Tragedy

1344 WordsJul 17, 20186 Pages
Hieronimo is a symbol for the authority of law within The Spanish Tragedy. From his soliloquy in act III scene II, one can see Hieronimo’s ambiguity in deciding whether to pursue either justice or revenge. It could be argued that Hieronimo’s actions and concerns change throughout the course of the play by the wills of others and not his own desires; thus representing the failed authority of the law. This can be shown by analysing Hieronimo, Bel-imperia, the Gods, Lorenzo and the Law. Hieronimo’s soliloquy in act III scene II is a focal point within The Spanish Tragedy as it is the awakening of Hieronimo’s awareness of Lorenzo’s villainy. The speech’s motives are deliberately ambiguous to suggest the confused state of Hieronimo’s…show more content…
Thus, one can argue that the ambiguity created from Hieronimo’s breakdown and the lexical choices suggest that the reader cannot ascertain whether Hieronimo is concerned more with revenge or justice. Hieronimo’s ambiguity as a character arguably allows his motives to be directed by others. For example, Bel-imperia demands that Hieronimo seek revenge, when he could easily use her testimony in a court. In her letter she writes: For want of ink, receive this bloody writ. Me hath my hapless brother hid from thee: Revenge thyself on Balthazar and him, For these were they that murdered thy son. Hieronimo, revenge Horatio’s death, This letter demonstrates Bel-imperia’s overt desire for revenge. She seems to command Hieronimo with the concise statements ‘revenge thyself’ and ‘revenge Horatio’s death’. Bel-imperia needs to use Hieronimo as her agent of revenge because, as a woman, she is unable take her own action and must rely on others to act on her behalf. However, Bel-imperia’s letter of revenge stirs Hieronimo from his confusion but not on a course of revenge but one of justice. Hieronimo declares that he will: […] comfirm this writ, And, Hearkening near the Duke of Castile’s house, Close if I can with Bel-imperia, To listen more, but nothing to bewray Hieronimo seeks to gather further evidence from Bel-imperia and
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