The Spanish Tragedy Questions and Answers
Q.1. What controversy was raised after the death of Andrea?
Ans. Andrea was killed in the battle field fighting for the sake of his beloved. Therefore, a controversy was raised in the country for the dead whether he should be lodged with the lovers or the warriors. The first suggestion that he should be lodged with the soul of the lovers was objected to by Rhadamanth on the ground that Andrea was basically a warrior and not a lover and therefore he should be lodged with the great warriors such as Achilles and Hector. He should be sent to the region where the soul of wounded Hector dwells in perpetual pain or where Achilles is lodged. But, Minos, the mildest of the 3 judges in Heaven suggested that Andrea should be sent to the court of Pluto, the King of Death, who should award his judgement whether Andrea be sent to the domain of the lovers or that of the warriors. At last, this proposal is accepted by all to solve the controversy
Q.2. How was Andrea transported to the underworld?
Ans. Andrea tells Revenge how he was taken to the gates of Horn in the underworld. He says that the powers of the underworld produced him before Pluto, the god of death for his judgement on him. Pluto was seated on his throne with his Queen Prosperpine. Andrea presented his passport to the king with utmost courtesy, humility and respect, bowing himself on his knees. The queen smiled at him and begged of the king to allow her to pass the judgement on him. The king was pleased and granted her request with a kiss. Soon she ordered Revenge to lead him to this region through the gates of Horn through which dreams quickly come out. No sooner had she passed this order than Revenge brought him to this region. This took place in the twinkling of the eye.
Q.3. What does Balthazar say about his father?
Ans. Balthazar says to the king about the sins and crimes of his father on account of which his countrymen have come to suffer in many ways. His father fought many wars and thus disturbed the peace of his own and several other countries. Now, his countrymen have to bear the outcome of those wars. It is useless to question why things have happened in a certain way. But the present situation is that his father’s men are being slain, rendering the country weak. His flags are confiscated, bringing disgrace to his name. His son has been made a prisoner, which causes him a deep heartache. All these punishment are gradually washing off his late offences.
Q.4. What does the Viceroy of Portugal say about Fortune?
Ans. The Viceroy of Portugal falls on the ground and laments fortune to do her worst on him. But, fortune can’t take away his black suit of mourning. She envies only the pleasant and happy things. Malicious chance works foolishly and irrationally. Fortune is both blind and deaf. Since she is deaf, she doesn’t hear his lamentations. But, even if she could hear him lamenting, she would act rashly and show no pity to him in his maladies. Even if she pitied for a moment, she would not be able to render any relief or redress, as she herself, is too fickle and unsteady. Why should he then keep lamenting when there is no chance of any relief or redress to come to him? The only comfort is that complaint makes grief appear less severe. He also thinks that the lowliest man is the happiest one because there is no risk of falling from his low station in life.
Q.5. What charges does the Viceroy of Portugal bring against Alexandro?
Ans. Villuppo impresses upon the Viceroy that Alexandro and his associates had treacherously murdered Balthazar. So, the Viceroy rages against Alexandro and calls him false, cruel, ungrateful and traitorous beast. He asks him how Balthazar had offended him so that he had betrayed Balhazar to the enemies. Was it the promise of Spanish gold that dazzled his eyes so much that he could not differentiate between good and evil? Perhaps he was a despot who wanted to seize the crown by first murdering his son and then his father the Viceroy. But, the Viceroy told him firmly that he would not let his designs be completed. On the contrary, he would have put him to death, for he had split the blood of his son with this evil design.
Q.6. How does Horatio describe the fight between Andres and Balthazar?
Ans. Horatio relates to Bellimperia that a fierce battle was fought between Andrea and Balthazar. They fought for a long time. Their strength was equal and their blows were terrible. But the angry and wicked goddess of retribution, Nemesis, could not bear Andrea’s praise and honour and so cut short the thread of his life. Nemesis came herself disguised in armour’s mask, who brought in fresh re-enforcement of soldiers armed with halberds. These soldiers stabbed Andrea’s horse in the belly and brought him to the ground. Then they all attacked Andrea and got him killed.
Q.7. What did Andrea see in the human world? How was he promised by Revenge?
Ans. Andrea and Revenge came wandering to the human world, and Andrea was grieved to see Bellimperia, his beloved making love with his foe and murderer, Balthazar. Andrea becomes very disconsolate whereupon Revenge asks him to be patient and wait for the final outcome.
Revenge tells him that very soon he would sow of discord between Balthazar and Bellimperia. He says that he would turn their love into moral hatred, their pleasures into sorrow, their hopes into despair, their joys into pain and their happiness into misery
Q.8. How does Lorenzo employ Pedringano as a spy?
Ans. Lorenzo is trying to discover the secret of his sister Bellimperia’s love. On the other hand, Bellimperia trusts Pedringano as her confident. That’s why, Lorenzo asks Pedringano to tell him about his sister’s real lover. Lorenzo reminds Pedringane that some time back he had saved him from his father’s wrath, who decided to punish him severely. In the name of that favour, Lorenzo asks his spy to tell him the secret of his sister’s love. Lorenzo further says that he would bestow on him more favours, rewards, titles, dignities lands and gold. He should only tell him honestly whom Bellimperia really loves.
Q.9. What is Balthazar’s reaction to Bellimperia’s love of Don Horatio?
Ans. Lorenzo wants to know the reaction of Balthazar when it is clear that Horatio is the new lover of Bellimperia. Lorenzo says that he is both happy and unhappy, glad and sad at the same time. He is happy as he knows who stands in the way of his love and sad because she hates him in spite of his love for her. Moreover, he is glad as he knows the object of his revenge, but sad because she may fly from him even if he took revenge upon his rival. Yet he must take revenge, or die himself, for love resisted grows impatient. He knows for certain that Horatio is his destined foe and the cause of all his misfortunes.
Q.10. How do Bellimperia and Horatio plan to meet?
Ans. Bellimperia and Horatio meet and fix up a suitable time and place to meet for the night. Bellimperia suggests that the most suitable place will be Horatio’s father’s pleasant garden. That was the place where they took the vow of mutual love and fidelity for the first time. This place is safe for dangerous war of courtship. The hour shall be in the evening when Venus begins to rise. At this hour, the weary labourers return to their homes after the day’s toil. The place is lonely where none except birds can hear their talk, where the sweet song of the nightingale with the sting of pain in her breast would proclaim their mirthful love-making and gently bull them to sleep before their being aware of it. Till then each hour would pass like a year or even more.
Q.11. How does Hireronimo lament over his son’s death?
Ans. Horatio is hanged and stabbed by Balthazar. Bellimperia cries out for help. Hieronimo comes out and sees Horatio hanging on the tree. Hieronimo now starts lamenting. He cries out to God why he made night to conceal sin and crime. This cruel murder could not have been possible in broad daylight. He also calls upon the Earth why she did not devour in time the wild and treacherous fellow before he could commit this crime defiling the sanctity of his bower He wonders what misdeed he (Horatio) had committed to lose his life at the threshold of youth. The murderer must be a malicious butcher, whatever Horatio, may have done to commit to death a good and noble youth like him. He says that he is the most unfortunate and wretched father for he had been deprived of all joy of life through the murder of his soul, Horatio.
Q.12. What does Hieronimo wish after the death of his son, Horatio?
Ans. Hieronimo feels deeply shocked and frustrated at the murder of his son, Horatio. He ardently wishes to die. He prays to God to strike him down with all his weapons such as mental and emotional disturbance, intrigue, conspiracy death and hell. Let all these stings drop at once into his cold bosom, which now is filled with horror. He wants to get killed at once. Let the infective night be gracious enough to drop this deed of murder down on him. Let this darkness prolong so that in the day he may not remember that he had a son.
Q.13. How does the Viceroy of Portugal describe the lives of the kings?
Ans. The Viceroy of Portugal reflects upon the dangers, doubts and uncertainties of the kings. The kings are always in the grip of dangers, intrigues and conspiracies. They live in constant danger of falling from height. So, the Viceroy thinks the condition of the kings to be unfortunate. They are surrounded by numerous doubts and fears against which there is no remedy. First, they are placed in the highest position and then often ousted by intrigues and conspiracies. They are entirely at the mercy of fortune which is responsible for their rise and fall. Even when they are in the highest position of power and glory, they hardly experience in because of fear, of being pulled down and overthrown. Winds do not stir the waves as does fate in the affairs of kings. The kings wish to be feared, but themselves fear to be loved, since fear or love is flattery to kings.
Q.14. What change does come upon Hieronimo after the murder of Horatio?
Ans. Hieronimo continues to fret and lament over the death of his son, Horatio. He feels that a great change has come over all his faculties and that he is a living dead. His eyes are no longer normal but fountains full of tears. His life is no long life but living death. The world appears to be a place of wide spread public wrongs, injustice, misdeeds and murders. If this unholy deed, this inhuman and barbarous act, this incomparable murder of his son, who is no longer alive now should pass undiscovered and unavenged, how shall God’s doings and dealings be called fair and just to man? How will man have faith in God, if God deals with him unjustly and unfairly even in such hard situations as the murder of a young son?
Q.15. What does Lorenzo say in his soliloquy about the murder of Horatio?
Ans. Lorenzo says that the murder of Horatio has been done according to his well planned scheme and procedure. Experience bids the wise men to act thus. He devised the plot and Pedringano became instrumental in achieving the goal. He proudly says that he laid the trap and Pedringano easily walked into it little knowing how his means of escape had been blocked like those of a trapped bird. A bird which is trapped unnecessarily breaks the twigs around it in order to fly away without knowing that its wings had been smeared with heavy stickybirdeime. Thus men, full of hope and desire of proving equal to the antagonists must look like fowlers to their friends. Pedringano rushed to kill Horatio on his suggestion and instigation like a fool and nobody knows this secret. It is impossible that a mass of individuals would keep mum when men themselves would reveal their secret.
Q.16. What does Hieronimo say about divinity?
Ans. Hieronimo is so shocked at the death of Horatio, his son, that he has started losing faith in man’s goodness or even in divine justice. He even begins to doubt wisdom in doing good to others. He says that those who don’t know how to remedy their own misfortunes and continue to suffer injustice must turn to work hard and apply all their mind and energy to dispense justice to others. Will not a day come in his life when, by the grace of God, he may come to experience a situation in which his mental agony could be repressed? He says that the grief caused by the death of his son is wasting away his mind, body and life. He can’t do away with the bitter feeling that while he would be doing justice to others, he would get no justice himself at the hands of either men or Gods.
Q.17. What does Hieronimo say about his woe and lamentation?
Ans. Heronimo says that his sorrow is too heavy to be borne by earth. He has made the air thick with his cries and complaints relating to the death of his son. The roaring winds mixed with his laments have shaken the trees and rendered them leafless. They have robbed the meadows of their flowers. The tidal waves of his fears have turned the mountains into marshy places and flowed on to hell penetrating through its gates. Yet his soul is still tortured with intermittent sighs. His ceaseless protestations of grief take wings and fly through the air to knock at the windows of the divine abode to demand pressingly for justice and revenge.
Q.18. What is the expression of Isabella after the death of Horatio?
Ans. Isabella’s soul cries with grief without knowing as to who was responsible for causing that grief to her. She says that her soul has silver wings and it soars upto the very abode of God in the highest heaven. There her dead soul must have found his abode. She visualizes angels dancing before her. The angels must be singing and dancing there to heal her newly caused wounds. They must be singing sweet hymns and heavenly songs with unusual harmony to honour his innocence who was done to death. Horatio, her deceased son, was a model of excellence in his days.
Q.19. What does Hieronimo do in his grief?
Ans. Hieronimo in his grief finds darkness all round. He orders torches to be lighted at noon. When he is told that at that time torches would be burning daylight, he tells his attendants to let the daylight also burn away. This only shows his most disconsolate soul and agitated mind. Night is a murderous witch. She covers all her treacherous acts of sin and guilt behind the cover of darkness. The pale faced Hecate, the deity of the witches and the moon also consent to what is done in the night. All the stars and other heavenly bodies gaze at the foul deeds in mute silence. They serve as agents on her sleeves and pins on her train. These bodies which should have been most alert and awake in the night doze and sleep behind the curtains of the night.
Q.20. How does Hieronimo arrange for a great tragedy to be acted?
Ans. Hieronimo makes arrangement for a great tragedy for performance on the occasion of the royal wedding and arrival of the Portuguese Viceroy. He proposes the great tragedy “Soliman and Perseda” to be staged. In this tragedy, Bellimperia is playing the role of the heroine. Hieronimo gives Bellimperin her role written on a piece of paper. He asks her to dress herself in any fashion she likes the best. She can appear like Phobe, Flora or the Moon goddess. He assures her that he himself would play a role which would finally prove that Hieronimo was really a liberal gentleman. The whole world would like, appreciate and remember the tragedy directed and played by him.
Q.21. How does Hieronimo go distract with grief?
Ans. Hieronimo goes distract with grief for the murder of his son. He would descend to hell with his passion ridden heart and knock at the dreary gates of hell to demand justice. He would force his way into hell as once Hercules did. He would bring from there a contingent of avenging furies and witches to torture Lorenzo and others who murdered his son. If the triple headed dog Cerberus bars his entrance at the hell. gate, he would pray the hoary-headed Gk. Poet Euripides to come for his rescue. He would appeal to him to play the role of Orpheus, a GK singer, to please the God of hell and let him enter. He would have the great poet pour forth all the grief of the human heart to move and enlist the sympathy of the queen of hell, Prosperpine. She would grant revenge to be taken upon those who murdered Horatio. He would then seize the murderers, rend and tear them and cut into pieces all their limbs with his teeth.
Q.22. How does Isabella dies?
Ans. Isabella calls out Hieronimo to take revenge upon the murderers of her son immediately. She is unable to bear the grief any longer. He should not be negligent to make lame excuses. But, she believes that her husband is not prepared to make any effort towards the end. Therefore, she decides to act herself. She curses the tree under which she was standing to go fruitless for ever. In the same way, all people would curse her womb to have remained barren after the death of her first son. In this maddening fit of despondency and grief, she stabs herself and falls down dead.
Q.23. How does the ghost of Andrea decide to deal with the newly arrived souls?
Ans. The ghost of Andrea discusses with Revenge how he would deal with the newly arrived souls. He says that he will conduct beautiful Isabella to the congregation of angels where they weep from pity but experience no pain. He would lead his fair beloved Bellimperia to those joys which virgins consecrated to the Roman goddess, Vesta, enjoy. She would enjoy all the joys allotted for chaste maidens and queens He would lead Hieronimo to the legendary poets and musicians who would entertain him and give him eternal pleasure of having taken revenge. Thus, he would as all those who have newly arrived there.