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4. Tamburlaine and The Spanish Tragedy
About this Lecture
In this module, Helen examines two of the most influential examples of Senecan tragedies: Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great (1578) and Kyd's Spanish Tragedy (1580s).
Shakespeare’s most famous – and infamous – tragedies draw on the Roman playwright Seneca for their dramatic form and theatrical style - including ‘Hamlet’, ‘King Lear’, and ‘Titus Andronicus’. Seneca also had a huge influence on Shakespeare’s contemporaries: Thomas Kyd’s ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ brought the Senecan themes of revenge and ultra-violence onto the English stage, while Tamburlaine’s thundering rhetoric and superhuman ambition in Christopher Marlowe’s play of the same name echo Seneca’s ‘Hercules’. But who was Seneca? What did he write? And why? This course introduces Seneca and explores his enormous influence on theatre in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Helen Slaney holds the Randall McIver Junior Research Fellowship at St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she is currently conducting practice-based research into Roman tragic pantomime. Helen's main field of interest is classical reception studies. In 2012 she completed a doctorate on the performance reception of Senecan tragedy. Her postdoctoral research will focus on embodied encounters with antiquity in the late eighteenth century.
Cite this Lecture
Slaney, H. (2018, August 15). Seneca and Early Modern Drama - Tamburlaine and The Spanish Tragedy [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/seneca-and-early-modern-drama/tamburlaine-and-the-spanish-tragedy
Slaney, Helen. "Seneca and Early Modern Drama – Tamburlaine and The Spanish Tragedy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Jan 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/seneca-and-early-modern-drama/tamburlaine-and-the-spanish-tragedy