Antonio's Revenge

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Antonio's Revenge is a late Elizabethan play written by John Marston ca. 1599–1600, and performed by the Children of Paul's, one of the troupes of boy actors popular at the time.

Antonio's Revenge was entered into the Stationers' Register on 24 October 1601, at the same time as Antonio and Mellida, and was first published in quarto in 1602 by the bookseller Thomas Fisher.

This play is a sequel to the romantic comedy Antonio and Mellida. Unlike its predecessor, however, Antonio's Revenge is a revenge tragedy. Antonio and Mellida ended with a scene in which the two lovers were reconciled, with the villain, Mellida's father, Duke Piero, apparently repenting his attempts to keep them apart. Antonio's Revenge begins where the previous play ended. It is revealed that Piero has not really reformed: he still hates Antonio, and is determined to prevent his daughter's marriage to him. Piero murders and imprisons various characters, driving Mellida herself to die of grief, before Antonio teams up with other wronged individuals to carry out a revenge on the wicked Duke, which they do through a masque in the play's last act.

This play, like Antonio and Mellida, is heavily indebted to earlier Elizabethan drama, recalling and parodying many scenes and devices.[1][2][3]

Harold Jenkins, writing in the introduction to his edition of Hamlet, says that the relationship between Antonio’s Revenge and Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been a subject of controversy, because there are many apparent similarities between the two plays. For example, in both plays a son encounters the ghost of his father who informs the son that he was poisoned, that he is bothered that his wife has been seduced by the murderer, and in both plays the father calls for revenge.[4]


  1. Caputi, Antony. John Marston, Satirist. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 1961.
  2. Chambers, E. K. The Elizabethan Stage. 4 Volumes, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1923.
  3. Finkelpearl, Philip J. John Marston of the Middle Temple. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1969.
  4. Shakespeare, William. Jenkins, Herold, editor. Hamlet. The Arden Shakespeare (1982) ISBN 1-903436-67-2