The Spanish Tragedy Redux

  • Dianne M. Hunter, Dr Trinity College, Connecticut, USA


An object-relations concept of transmission of turbulence illuminates the phantom structure of Thomas Kyd’s Elizabethan metatheatrical play The Spanish Tragedy and my response to it. In 1972, interpreting the arbor imagery and the rhetoric of reversal and self-cancellation in the play, I wrote, “Kyd is his father attacking himself in the womb he is in”. After researching my suppressed family history, this peculiar sentence suggested to me unconscious knowledge of a run of murders in my family line, going back to the 1760 Long Cane Massacre of Irish settlers by Cherokee Indians in what is now South Carolina; continuing in the 1799 murder of Major William Love near what is now Harpe’s Head, Kentucky; the suicide of my maternal grandfather in Philadelphia in 1931; and culminating in a Mafia-style execution of my father near Cleveland, Ohio in 1943. Objectification of violence drives Hieronimo and informs this essay.

How to Cite
Hunter, D. (2018, February 6). The Spanish Tragedy Redux. Language and Psychoanalysis, 7(1), 1-13.
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