chapter  2
26 Pages

Family and Judiciary in The Spanish Tragedy

Possibly written in the early 1590s, The Spanish Tragedy asserts the cause of the private family.1 As Isabella and Hieronimo, wracked by grief, champion the cause of their dead child, they resituate their family, insisting on the unique and private nature of the bonds that tie them to their dead son. Consequently, their family enters into a symbolic rivalry with incumbent apparatuses of state. As the contest unfolds, the authority of the crown is thereby degraded while the value of parenthood is elevated. In short, this play radically privatises the family, constructing it as a natural unit and advancing its cause.