Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Journeymen in MurderThe Assassin in English Renaissance Drama$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Martin Wiggins

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112280.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 May 2019

The First Hired Assassins

The First Hired Assassins

(p.103) 6 The First Hired Assassins
Journeymen in Murder

Martin Wiggins

Oxford University Press

We have already seen that the success of The Spanish Tragedy was one of the factors behind the sudden popularity of episodes involving assassins in the late 1580s and early 1590s. Earlier plays — and many later ones — dealt with the stock figure of the tyrant, so that the assassin episode focused contemporary concerns about power and morality, authority and obedience. In contrast, Thomas Kyd's villain, Lorenzo, is a private individual, and his relationship with the assassin is correspondingly different. The relevant thread of the plot traces the gradual process of corruption that leads Bel-Imperia's servant Pedringano to the gallows. Probably the next stage assassins after Pedringano appeared in plays written in the shadow of Tamburlaine (1587–1588), The Wars of Cyrus (1588), and The Wounds of Civil War. Though payment is the murderer's predominant concern, it is not of absolute importance in the context of the murder episode as a whole: rather, it is one side of a transaction. The issue is presented with most acuteness in King Leir.

Keywords:   The Spanish Tragedy, assassins, plays, morality, authority, Thomas Kyd, murder, King Leir, corruption, The Wars of Cyrus

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .