Memorial Revenge at the Reformation(s): Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This article draws on the recent revisions in the concept of England’s Reformation(s), and on critical observations of the importance of funerary memorials in The Spanish Tragedy, to argue that the tradition of reading Kyd’s play as Reformist and anti-Catholic is mistaken. It shows how religious controversy in England over how to bury and mourn the dead divided Reformers from traditionalists well into the seventeenth century, the play’s Purgatorial, funerary and mournful emphasis thus presenting a traditional religious outlook which the play simultaneously justifies in generic terms. The article concludes with adaptations made in 1602 to The Spanish Tragedy, arguing these constitute enhancements (and thus contemporary awareness) of Kyd’s traditional, anti-Reformist, and thus controversial stance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalCahiers Elisabethains: Late Medieval and Renaissance English Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Kyd, Thomas
  • The Spanish Tragedy
  • theatre, early modern
  • religion
  • Reformation
  • religion (traditionalists)
  • controversy
  • funeral
  • mourning
  • renaissance


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