THE METATHEATRICAL MIND
DOI link for THE METATHEATRICAL MIND
THE METATHEATRICAL MIND book
The metatheatrical nature of Sene can tragedy, its fusion of illusionism and self-reflection, its self-conscious display of its own theatrical construction, conventions and form, were analysed above. Renaissance tragedy, English drama most especially, revels in a parade of its own dramatic artifice which seems to owe its origins in part to Seneca, but develops an explicitness, even an obsessive focus, which goes beyond the Latin playwright. Kyd's Tbe Spanisb Tragecfy again proves exemplary. Manifesting its Senecan indebtedness in quotation and structure, dramaturgical devices, dialogue and theme, it imitates too Tf?yestes and Medea in creating a revenge drama produced and directed by the revenger himself. The theatrical metaphor, though more explicit, is substantially the same. After demonstrating Hieronimo's theatrical expertise in the masque of the first act (the audience for which is Kyd's Elizabethan playgoer as much as the Spanish court), Kyd unleashes Hieronimo as bravura actor-playwright-director in the final act's production of Soliman and Perseda, which Hieronimo has not only written but produces, laying the groundwork in 4.1 and 4.3 for the play's performance in 4.4, casting and assigning appropriate 'parts', attending to wardrobe and to make-up, giving instructions on dialogue, title-boards and place-labels, directing what Hieronimo calls his 'Tragedia co/burna/a' (4.1.160). In the performance itself (4.4) Hieronimo imposes his own revenge 'plot' on that of his play. And in the play's finale, like Medea and Atreus, he wants recognition:
No, princes, know I am Hieronimo, The hopeless father of a hapless son ... And princes, now behold Hieronimo,
Author and actor in this tragedy, Bearing his latest fortune in his fist: And will as resolute conclude his part As any of the actors gone before.