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The Revenger's Tragedy. In the extract, the key themes of lust, moral decay, misogyny and corruption are demonstrated and reinforced through the exchange between Vindice and Gratiana.

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Introduction

In the extract, the key themes of lust, moral decay, misogyny and corruption are demonstrated and reinforced through the exchange between Vindice and Gratiana. In the Italian court in which the play is set, it is evident that moral bankruptcy is, and almost the only way of life and this is reflected in Vindice's words; "The world descends into such base-born evils/ That forty angels can make fourscore devils" (II.i.88-89). The endless lust for wealth and ambition in court are conveyed with these lines, where he points out the fact that money is in fact, the root cause of evil. Here, 'the world' can be seen as a metaphor for the various characters in the court, where the supposedly 'noble', in the attempt to fulfil their individual agendas, have been in fact, reduced to become the most morally corrupt group of people. As such, one would be compelled to contemplate the extent of debauchery in the duke's court; if Vindice, who appears to be the purveyor of justice but deceives and murders through the play, can act like a moral spokesman in the play, it would seem that the entire court practise much more evil in comparison. ...read more.

Middle

that the women see themselves as weak creatures that are naturally incapable of denying men, that the men in turn, see them as untrustworthy and lustful and hence, to be hated. In addition, the hypocrisy of Gratiana's character is revealed in her words; she finds no shame in her actions, only reasons that would free her of the guilt and responsibility of her actions. Hence, from the fact that a mother would betray even her own flesh and blood for the sake of wealth and advancement in court, the theme of widespread moral corruption is forcefully reiterated. On the other hand, it is evident that Vindice, despite his clever and manipulative nature, is rather morally disoriented. While he condemns the courtiers who sin and discard their morals, he also regards their behaviour as a given; he sees it as a commonplace occurrence. In addition, this recognition of moral decay in others does not prevent him from doing the same; to persuade Gratiana to prostitute her daughter, his conscience only going as far to hope that she would reject the proposal. ...read more.

Conclusion

As such, the audience is constantly reminded of the theme of corruption in the story, allowing the plot to progress in a linear fashion that never strays from its theme. Lastly, the stylistic element of foreshadowing can also be seen in Middleton's writing, one instance being Vindice's supposed 'sexual penetration' of Gratiana. With this, the audience is given clues to what was to come later on in the play, which is in this case, incest. From this short extract, it is evident that the themes of the play are thoroughly demonstrated through the use of language, presentation, and dramatic techniques. The audience is exposed to a world mired in corruption, while lust and the thirst for money and revenge further contaminate the characters. On the other hand, the ambivalence of the characters is also revealed, compelling the audience to be constantly second guessing the authencity of the characters' presentations of themselves. The incessant theatrics and play acting that comes so naturally to so many of the characters in the play also serves as a reminder to the hypocrisy that also exists in the real world, and the fact that at times, life itself is but a play. ...read more.

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