The Revenger’s Tragedy

Ambitioso Character Analysis

Ambitioso is the Duchess’s eldest son, predating her relationship with the Duke. He is desperate to be Duke himself, plotting with his brother, Supervacuo, to attain power. Ambitioso kills Supervacuo when the latter proclaims himself Duke—and is then immediately killed himself by Spurio. His name gestures towards his hunger for power.
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Ambitioso Character Timeline in The Revenger’s Tragedy

The timeline below shows where the character Ambitioso appears in The Revenger’s Tragedy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2 
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
The Duke, Lussurioso, the Duchess, Spurio, and Ambitioso and Supervacuo, the Duchess’s other two sons, enter. Junior Brother is brought in to stand... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...Junior Brother to be shown mercy. Lussurioso says that mercy is superficial and false, but Ambitioso also asks the Duke to “be soft and mild.” In an aside to audience, Spurio... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Death Theme Icon
The Duke realizes that Lussurioso is his assailant; the Duke’s guards seize Lussurioso. Some noblemen, Ambitioso, and Supervacuo enter. The Duke and the Duchess express their surprise that Lussurioso had come... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
...Spurio but is silenced and taken to prison. On his way out, Lussurioso pleads with Ambitioso and Supervacuo to secure his freedom, which they pretend to commit to. (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Ambitioso and Supervacuo speak to the Duke. Though their intention on the surface is to bring... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
With Ambitioso and Supervacuo gone, the Duke tells his noblemen that he will pardon Lussurioso. Left alone... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Ambitioso and Supervacuo discuss taking the Duke’s order for death directly to the prison guards (rather... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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Death Theme Icon
Ambitioso and Supervacuo meet with the prison officers and present the order for the execution of... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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...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... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...“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... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Ambitioso and Supervacuo enter, bragging of the way they orchestrated Lussurioso’s execution. They plot to bring... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
The officer informs Ambitioso and Supervacuo that he has brought them the “bleeding head,” which they assume to be... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Lussurioso suddenly appears on stage, much to Ambitioso and Supervacuo’s surprise. They pretend to have aided his release by convincing the Duke to... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Ambitioso and Supervacuo ask the officer to let them see the head. It dawns on them... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...enter, arm in arm and behaving “lasciviously.” Supervacuo runs after them with his sword, but Ambitioso stops him. The Duchess and Spurio exit, confident their affair will not be discovered. Ambitioso... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...of the Duke’s death gets around, more nobles, guards, and court attendees enter, along with Ambitioso, Supervacuo, Spurio, and the Duchess. Ambitioso wonders “over what roof hangs this prodigious comet /... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
...revenge, before leaving. Spurio, too, exits expressing his secret desire to kill Lussurioso. Supervacuo and Ambitioso briefly discuss a plan to kill Spurio, intending to use the costumes worn during the... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
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...Lussurioso states that he has banished the Duchess, and plans to kill Spurio, Supervacuo, and Ambitioso. Lussurioso looks to the star, thinking it to be a bad omen—though at least he... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
As Lussurioso lies groaning on the floor, Ambitioso, Supervacuo, Spurio, and a “Fourth Man” enter, also dressed in masque costumes. They notice that... (full context)