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Middleton: The Revenger's Tragedy

2. Jacobean Tragedy

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About this Lecture


One of the things we do know about the Revenger’s Tragedy is that it was definitely a Jacobean (rather than an Elizabethan) play. While it often makes sense to think about these two periods together (using the term “Jacobethan”), it is fruitful in this case to think about the differences between drama under the two monarchs. In particular, we consider Jacobean drama’s darker tone, it convoluted plots, and its preoccupation with sex.


In this course, we explore The Revenger’s Tragedy, a play which was written in the early years of the seventeenth century, but whose author is unknown. In the first two modules, we think generally about the Early Modern stage, before moving on in the final three modules to think about the play itself – its dramatic antecedents, its setting and language, and the presentation of its central character, the “Revenger” himself, Vindice.


Born in Bristol, and educated at Oxford and St Louis, Dr John Lennard has taught English, American, and Commonwealth Literature in Cambridge, London, and Jamaica over more than twenty years. He has written two widely used textbooks (on poetry and drama) and monographs on Shakespeare, Paul Scott, Nabokov, and Faulkner, as well as two collections of essays on contemporary genre writers in crime, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. Enthusiastic, discursive, widely knowledgeable, and a demon for punctuation (on which he has also published extensively), he has been a popular Summer School Course Leader and lecturer for the Institute of Continuing Education since 1992.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lennard, J. (2018, August 15). Middleton: The Revenger's Tragedy - Jacobean Tragedy [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lennard, J. "Middleton: The Revenger's Tragedy – Jacobean Tragedy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,