The Revenger’s Tragedy

The Revenger’s Tragedy Act 3, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Junior Brother sits in prison, frustrated at his situation.  He asks the prison keeper whether there is any news from his brothers, Ambitioso and Supervacuo. The keeper hands him a letter, which Junior Brother dismisses as mere “paper comforts.” The letter tells him to expect a “trick” that will soon get him out of there.
This makes clear where Ambitioso and Supervacuo’s true loyalties lie—with Junior Brother. The use of “trick” is an ironic joke—the “trick” will be on the brothers when they accidentally have the wrong person executed.
Themes
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
The keeper briefly exits before returning with “bad news,” saying he has been “discharged” of Junior Brother. The prisoner thinks this means he’s about to be released, but prison officers enter and make it clear that they have orders from the Duke to execute him there and then. Junior Brother tries to argue, but the officers tell him he is better of using his last words to say his prayers.
Junior Brother is truly baffled, having only just read a letter that was meant to reassure him that he would soon be released. The keeper’s use of the word “discharged” is a euphemism—he means that once Junior Brother is killed he will no longer be under the keeper’s care. Again, there is the suggestion that a person’s final moments in life are best spent petitioning God for leniency.
Themes
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
The officers tell Junior Brother that his own brothers delivered the Duke’s judgment to them, confusing Junior Brother, who says he is waiting for “trick” to get him released. The officers say they are just following orders, and that Ambitioso and Supervacuo had seemed genuinely sad to deliver the Duke’s decision. Junior Brother’s says his last words: “My fault was sweet sport, which the world approves; I die for that which every woman loves.”
Ambitioso and Supervacuo had been pretending to be sad—but at Lussurioso’s, not Junior Brother’s, impending execution. Junior Brother is unrepentant to the last, thinking nothing of his rape which resulted in Antonio’s wife’s suicide. He feels that his actions were nothing but “sweet sport,” and that everyone—including women!—loves that sport (sex), not drawing any distinction between consensual sex and rape. Most audiences will probably feel that justice has been accidentally administered in Junior Brother’s case.
Themes
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon