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Greek Tragic Women on Shakespearean Stages$
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Tanya Pollard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793113.001.0001

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Imitating the Queen of Troy

Imitating the Queen of Troy

(p.89) 2 Imitating the Queen of Troy
Greek Tragic Women on Shakespearean Stages

Tanya Pollard

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2, “Imitating the Queen of Troy,” explores responses to Greek tragic women in Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy and Shakespeare and Peele’s Titus Andronicus, two early revenge tragedies that both feature raging, grieving mothers and sacrificial young women framed among Greek allusions. Both plays also reflect metatheatrically on the nature of tragedy and link it with appeals to sympathy, suggesting that their attention to Greek legacies and tragic female icons accompanies a broader interest in the genre and its effects. Tracing Kyd’s Greek training at Merchant Taylors’ School, and Peele’s Greek literary experience at Oxford, the chapter identifies Greek debts in these two early commercial tragedies as establishing a crucial foundation for the genre’s development in England.

Keywords:   Kyd, Shakespeare, Peele, Spanish Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, tragedy, revenge, sacrifice, sympathy, metatheater

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