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* MeaningfulName: Bel-imperia is both beautiful and imperious.


The play begins in the aftermath of a Spanish victory over Portugal in 1580. The Spanish king's brother, the Duke of Castile, has a son and daughter, Lorenzo and Bel-imperia. Her deceased former lover Andrea has been killed by the Portugese Viceroy's son Balthazar, who has been taken prisoner by Lorenzo and Horatio, the son of the Spanish marshal Hieronimo. Andrea appears as a ghost throughout the play, alongside a personification of Revenge.

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The play begins in the aftermath of a Spanish victory over Portugal in 1580. The Spanish king's brother, the Duke of Castile, has a son and daughter, Lorenzo and Bel-imperia. Her deceased former lover Andrea has been killed by the Portugese Viceroy's viceroy's son Balthazar, who has been taken prisoner by Lorenzo and Horatio, the son of the Spanish marshal Hieronimo. Andrea appears as a ghost throughout the play, alongside a personification of Revenge.



* BittersweetEnding: With shades of a DownerEnding. The villains are killed and punished in hell (although it's debatable how much of a villain the Duke was). Andrea, Horatio, Isabella, Bel-imperia and Hieronimo are all dead through murder or suicide, but there is promise of them all finding happiness together in the afterlife. On the other hand, the main survivors left to mourn and pick up the pieces - the Spanish king and the Portugese Viceroy - have both (especially the latter) shown themselves to be rather weak and gullible rulers who probably will not be able to stop history from repeating itself.

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* BittersweetEnding: With shades of a DownerEnding. The villains are killed and punished in hell (although it's debatable how much of a villain the Duke was). Andrea, Horatio, Isabella, Bel-imperia and Hieronimo are all dead through murder or suicide, but there is promise of them all finding happiness together in the afterlife. On the other hand, the main survivors left to mourn and pick up the pieces - the Spanish king and the Portugese Viceroy viceroy - have both (especially the latter) shown themselves to be rather weak and gullible rulers who probably will not be able to stop history from repeating itself.



** Just after Bel-imperia and Hieronimo have resolved to join forces for revenge, the latter invites Lorenzo and Balthazar to perform in a tragic play with them in front of the king and the Viceroy, saying that it will prove "wondrous plausible to that assembly", referring to the fact that the killings in the play will be real.
** After Bel-imperia has stabbed Balthazar and herself, the Viceroy says "Were this in earnest, Bel-imperia, you would be better to my son than so." He's unaware that it ''was'' in earnest, and they are both dead.

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** Just after Bel-imperia and Hieronimo have resolved to join forces for revenge, the latter invites Lorenzo and Balthazar to perform in a tragic play with them in front of the king and the Viceroy, viceroy, saying that it will prove "wondrous plausible to that assembly", referring to the fact that the killings in the play will be real.
** After Bel-imperia has stabbed Balthazar and herself, the Viceroy viceroy says "Were this in earnest, Bel-imperia, you would be better to my son than so." He's unaware that it ''was'' in earnest, and they are both dead.



* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: The Spanish King and Duke of Castile both trust Balthazar and regard him as a good match for Bel-imperia, while the Viceroy of Portugal is taken in by Villuppo's lies about Alexandro. Also, Bel-imperia in Act 2, when she says her servant Pedringano "is as trusty as my second self".

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* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: The Spanish King king and Duke the duke of Castile both trust Balthazar and regard him as a good match for Bel-imperia, and the former is also duped by Lorenzo's lies about Hieronimo and Horatio in the third act, while the Viceroy viceroy of Portugal is taken in by Villuppo's lies about Alexandro. Also, Bel-imperia in Act 2, when she says her servant Pedringano "is as trusty as my second self".



* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Both the King and the Viceroy. Lorenzo falsely convinces the former that the murdered Horatio is alive and well, while Viluppo falsely convinces the Viceroy that his living son Balthazar has been murdered by Alexandro.

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* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Both the King king and the Viceroy. viceroy. Lorenzo falsely convinces the former that the murdered Horatio is alive and well, while Viluppo falsely convinces the Viceroy viceroy that his living son Balthazar has been murdered by Alexandro.Alexandro.
* MotiveRant: Hieronimo delivers an epic one to the audience of his play at court, revealing a) Horatio's dead body, b) his extreme grief and thirst for vengeance, c) the perfidy of Lorenzo and Balthazar and d) the very real on-stage killings that the king, duke and viceroy had supposed to be counterfeit.



** The Duke of Castile and Portugese Viceroy call for Hieronimo to be tortured when they find out he has killed their sons.

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** The Duke of Castile and Portugese Viceroy viceroy call for Hieronimo to be tortured when they find out he has killed their sons.

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** After Bel-imperia has stabbed Balthazar and herself, the Viceroy says "Were this in earnest, Bel-imperia, you would be better to my son than so." He's unaware that it ''was'' in earnest, and they are both dead.


* DramaticIrony: During Horatio and Bel-imperia's fatal love scene in the arbour, the audience knows that the treacherous Pedringano has gone to fetch Lorenzo and his accomplices. Horatio says to Bel-imperia "Oh stay a while, and I will die with thee..." shortly before he is stabbed and hanged right in front of her.

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* DramaticIrony: DramaticIrony:
**
During Horatio and Bel-imperia's fatal love scene in the arbour, the audience knows that the treacherous Pedringano has gone to fetch Lorenzo and his accomplices. Horatio says to Bel-imperia "Oh stay a while, and I will die with thee..." shortly before he is stabbed and hanged right in front of her.
** Just after Bel-imperia and Hieronimo have resolved to join forces for revenge, the latter invites Lorenzo and Balthazar to perform in a tragic play with them in front of the king and the Viceroy, saying that it will prove "wondrous plausible to that assembly", referring to the fact that the killings in the play will be real.

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The text is available [[http://www.elizabethanauthors.org/span1.htm here]].


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* {{Ambadassador}}: Don Andrea was definitely this before his death in the prequel, being a valiant war hero. The present Portugese Ambassador also has a moment of this in Act 3, when his arrival saves an innocent man from the stake and exposes the traitor who condemned him.


, Bel-imperia is comforted after Andrea's death by his close friend Horatio. His attention to her in Act 1 is chivalrous, but soon they become lovers.

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* DramaticIrony: During Horatio and Bel-imperia's fatal love scene in the arbour, the audience knows that the treacherous Pedringano has gone to fetch Lorenzo and his accomplices. Horatio says to Bel-imperia "Oh stay a while, and I will die with thee..." shortly before he is stabbed and hanged right in front of her.


* ComfortingTheWidow: Although not technically a widow as she wasn't married, Bel-imperia is comforted after Andrea's death by his friend Horatio, who becomes her new lover.



* DeadManWriting: After executing Pedringano, the Hangman finds a letter on his body exposing the guilt of Lorenzo and Balthazar, which he gives to Hieronimo.
-->'''Pedringano:''' ''(written)'' If you neglect, my life is desperate,
-->And in my death I shall reveal the truth...



* KillHimAlready: The essence of Bel-imperia's opening speech to Hieronimo in Act 4, essentially accusing him of dithering in the matter of avenging Horatio.



* LastMinuteReprieve:
** Alexandro has been falsely accused of murdering Balthazar and tied to the stake to be burned, when the Portugese Ambassador enters with letters confirming Balthazar to be alive and Alexandro innocent.
** Subverted with the treacherous Pedringano, who is led to believe that the empty box brought by the page boy contains a pardon from Lorenzo, right up until his moment of execution.



* MurderTheHypotenuse: Lorenzo and Balthazar do this to Bel-imperia's lover Horatio.

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* MurderTheHypotenuse: Lorenzo and Balthazar wants Bel-imperia for himself, so he and Lorenzo do this to Bel-imperia's her lover Horatio.


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* PunchClockVillain: The Hangman, who shares a witty and good-humoured dialogue with Pedringano right before executing him.


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* ReplacementGoldfish: Bel-imperia regards Horatio as one for her deceased Andrea to some extent, as she reveals in a monologue.
-->'''Bel-imperia:''' Yet what avails to wail Andrea's death,
-->From whence Horatio proves my second love?
-->Had he not loved Andrea as he did,
-->He could not sit in Bel-imperia's thoughts.


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* RomancingTheWidow: Bel-imperia is not technically a widow as she was not married, but she and Horatio end up turning to each other for comfort in the wake of the death of Andrea, who was her lover and his dear friend.
, Bel-imperia is comforted after Andrea's death by his close friend Horatio. His attention to her in Act 1 is chivalrous, but soon they become lovers.
* ShockValueRelationship: Downplayed. Although Bel-imperia really does love Horatio as he does her, she also secretly admits that one of her motives for being with him is to spite Balthazar who murdered her first lover Andrea and who is now wooing her.
-->'''Bel-imperia:''' Yes, second love shall further my revenge:
-->I'll love Horatio, my Andrea's friend,
-->The more to spite the Prince that wrought his end.


* {{Foil}}: Honest, impulsive and chivalrous Horatio to the dishonest Machiavellian villain Lorenzo.
* ForegoneConclusion: Revenge's very first speech to Andrea assures him that Balthazar will be "Deprived of life by Bel-imperia."

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* {{Foil}}: Honest, Honourable, impulsive and chivalrous Horatio to the dishonest deceitful Machiavellian villain Lorenzo.Lorenzo. Also, the honest Alexandro to the dishonest Villuppo.
* ForegoneConclusion: Revenge's very first speech to Andrea assures him that Balthazar will be "Deprived "deprived of life by Bel-imperia."



* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: The Spanish King and Duke of Castile both trust Balthazar and regard him as a good match for Bel-imperia, while the Viceroy of Portugal is taken in by Villuppo's lies about Alexandro. Also, Bel-imperia in Act 2, when she says her servant Pedringano "is as trusty as my second self".



* LaserGuidedKarma: The snitch Pedringano who betrayed Horatio to his death is, in turn, betrayed to his death by Lorenzo.

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* LaserGuidedKarma: LaserGuidedKarma:
**
The snitch Pedringano who betrayed Horatio to his death is, in turn, betrayed to his death by Lorenzo.Lorenzo.
** Viluppo is condemned to the same death to which he tried to betray Alexandro.
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Both the King and the Viceroy. Lorenzo falsely convinces the former that the murdered Horatio is alive and well, while Viluppo falsely convinces the Viceroy that his living son Balthazar has been murdered by Alexandro.


* CouldntFindAPen: For want of ink, Bel-imperia uses her own blood to write to Hieronimo and name Horatio's murderers while she is imprisoned.

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* CouldntFindAPen: For want of ink, the imprisoned Bel-imperia uses her own blood to write to Hieronimo and name Horatio's murderers while she is imprisoned.murderers, and drops the letter out the window for him to find.

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* CouldntFindAPen: For want of ink, Bel-imperia uses her own blood to write to Hieronimo and name Horatio's murderers while she is imprisoned.
-->'''Bel-imperia:''' ''(written)'' For want of ink, receive this bloody writ:
-->Me hath my hapless brother hid from thee;
-->Revenge thyself on Balthazar and him:
-->For these were they that murdered thy son.


Hieronimo and his wife Isabella, finding their son's body, become frantic with grief. The imprisoned Bel-imperia manages to send him a letter written in her blood, naming the murderers, but his attempts to see her arouse Lorenzo's suspicions. The latter convinces the king that Horatio is alive, and prevents Hieronimo from seeing him in order to stop him seeking justice, while Isabella commits suicide, all of which drive Hieronimo raving mad.

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Hieronimo and his wife Isabella, finding their son's body, become frantic with grief. The imprisoned Bel-imperia manages to send him the former a letter written in her blood, naming the murderers, but his attempts to see her arouse Lorenzo's suspicions. The latter convinces the king that Horatio is alive, and prevents Hieronimo from seeing him in order to stop him seeking justice, while Isabella commits suicide, all of which drive Hieronimo raving mad.


* BittersweetEnding: With shades of a DownerEnding. The villains are killed and punished in hell (although it's debatable how much of a villain the Duke was). Andrea, Horatio, Isabella, Bel-imperia and Hieronimo are all dead through murder or suicide, but there is promise of them all finding happiness together in the afterlife. On the other hand, the main survivors left to mourn and pick up the pieces - the Spanish king and the Portugese Viceroy - have both shown themselves to be rather weak and gullible rulers who show no sign of being able to stop history from repeating itself.

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* BittersweetEnding: With shades of a DownerEnding. The villains are killed and punished in hell (although it's debatable how much of a villain the Duke was). Andrea, Horatio, Isabella, Bel-imperia and Hieronimo are all dead through murder or suicide, but there is promise of them all finding happiness together in the afterlife. On the other hand, the main survivors left to mourn and pick up the pieces - the Spanish king and the Portugese Viceroy - have both (especially the latter) shown themselves to be rather weak and gullible rulers who show no sign of being probably will not be able to stop history from repeating itself.


* BittersweetEnding: With shades of a DownerEnding. The villains are killed and punished in hell (although it's debatable how much of a villain the Duke was). Andrea, Horatio, Isabella, Bel-imperia and Hieronimo are all dead through murder or suicide, but there is promise of them all finding happiness together in the afterlife. On the other hand, the main survivors left to mourn and pick up the pieces - the Spanish king and the Portugese Viceroy - have both shown themselves to be rather weak and gullible rulers who show no sign of being able to stop history from repeating itself.



* ChekhovsGunman: Hieronimo spends the first act as a background character, but when his son Horatio is murdered, he becomes the protagonist of the story.



* DespairEventHorizon: Isabella crosses it in her very first scene, where she goes insane upon seeing the murdered body of her son.
* TheDragon: Pedringano is this to Lorenzo.



* EntitledToHaveYou: Balthazar's attitude toward Bel-imperia, who hates his guts.
* {{Foil}}: Honest, impulsive and chivalrous Horatio to the dishonest Machiavellian villain Lorenzo.



* RedOniBlueOni: A villainous version in Balthazar (red) and Lorenzo (blue).
* {{Revenge}}: Par for the course. Revenge even manifests as a spirit, overseeing the action and assuring Andrea of the villains' impending doom.



* SpiritedYoungLady: Bel-imperia is beautiful, intelligent and headstrong. She chooses both her lovers, Andrea and Horatio, against the wishes of her father.
* StalkerWithACrush: Balthazar to Bel-imperia, who hates him.



* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: Horatio. He's honest, chivalrous, and easily the nicest character in the mostly BlackAndGreyMorality world of the play, and is murdered in the second act.



** Bel-imperia, meanwhile, has endured seeing both her boyfriends murdered, the latter in a particularly brutal manner, and is then locked away, where she has to resort to writing a letter in her own blood to expose the murderers.

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** Bel-imperia, meanwhile, has endured seeing both her boyfriends murdered, the latter in a particularly brutal manner, manner by her evil brother, and is then locked away, imprisoned, where she has to resort to writing a letter in her own blood to expose the murderers.murderers. By the end of the play she has killed herself.

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* AristocratsAreEvil: The villains Lorenzo and Balthazar are nobility, while Andrea, Horatio and Hieronimo are all of humble birth and relatively heroic figures.

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