Although Romeo and Juliet appears early in the sequence of Shakespeare's tragedies, it represents a considerable improvement over his very first attempts at tragedy, the historical Tragedy of Richard III and Titus Andronicus. These two works follow in the tradition of a crude, though powerful, form of revenge drama perfected by Marlowe and Kyd in the 1580's. Richard III and Titus Andronicus contain the typical conventions of this form: ruthless Machiavellian villains, bloody spectacle, and long speeches debating the nature of villainous ambition and...
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