The Revenger’s Tragedy


Thomas Middleton

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Antonio Character Analysis

Antonio is a nobleman at the Duke’s court. He doesn’t appear much in the play, but he has an important role. Firstly, like Vindice, he suffers considerable tragedy: Junior Brother, the Duchess’s youngest son, rapes Antonio’s wife, subsequently driving her to commit suicide because of the shame. After the bloodbath at the play’s end, Antonio is surprised to find himself leader of the realm now that the Duke and the other contenders are all dead. His first act in charge is to send Vindice and Hippolito to their deaths, hoping this will put an end to the treason and tragedy that has so consumed the court.

Antonio Quotes in The Revenger’s Tragedy

The The Revenger’s Tragedy quotes below are all either spoken by Antonio or refer to Antonio. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of The Revenger’s Tragedy published in 2009.
Act 1, Scene 2  Quotes

Duchess, it is your youngest son, we’re sorry,
His violent act has e'en drawn blood of honour
And stained our honours,
Thrown ink upon the forehead of our state
Which envious spirits will dip their pens into
After our death, and blot us in our tombs."

Related Characters: The Duke (speaker), The Duchess, Spurio , Junior Brother, Antonio
Page Number: 1-6
Explanation and Analysis:

SECOND JUDGE: Confess, my lord,
What moved you to’t?

JUNIOR BROTHER: Why, flesh and blood, my lord.
What should move men unto a woman else?

LUSSURIOSO: O do not jest thy doom; trust not an axe
Or sword too far. The law is a wise serpent
And quickly can beguile thee of thy life.

Related Characters: Lussurioso (speaker), Junior Brother (speaker), Antonio
Page Number: 46-50
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

I marked not this before:
A prayer book the pillow to her cheek;
This was her rich confection, and another
Placed in her right hand with a leaf tucked up,
Pointing to these words:
Melius virtute mori, quam per dedecus viyere.
True and effectual it is indeed.

Related Characters: Antonio (speaker), Junior Brother
Page Number: 13-18
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

ANTONIO: Bear 'em to speedy execution. […]

VINDICE: May not we set as well as the duke's son?
Thou hast no conscience: are we not revenged?
Is there one enemy left alive amongst those?
When murderers shut deeds close this curse does seal 'em:
If none disclose 'em, they themselves reveal 'em!
This murder might have slept in tongueless brass
But for ourselves, and the world died an ass.
Now I remember too; here was Piato
Brought forth a knavish sentence once:
No doubt, said he, but time
Will make the murderer bring forth himself.
'Tis well he died, he was a witch.—
And now my lord, since we are in for ever:
This work was ours, which else might have been slipped;
And if we list we could have nobles clipped
And go for less than beggars. But we hate
To bleed so cowardly: we have enough—
I'faith we're well: our mother turned, our sister true,
We die after a nest of dukes! Adieu.
Exeunt [Vindice and Hippolito, guarded)

ANTONIO: How subtly was that murder closed! Bear up
Those tragic bodies; 'tis a heavy season.
Pray heaven their blood may wash away all treason.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Antonio (speaker), Hippolito, The Duke, Lussurioso, Gratiana, Castiza
Related Symbols: Natural Phenomena
Page Number: 106-130
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Revenger’s Tragedy LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Revenger’s Tragedy PDF

Antonio Character Timeline in The Revenger’s Tragedy

The timeline below shows where the character Antonio appears in The Revenger’s Tragedy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
...(and the Duke’s stepson), Junior Brother, is rumored to have raped the wife of Lord Antonio, a court nobleman. Vindice says he must make “speedy travel.” Vindice and Gratiana briefly discuss... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Antonio enters with another nobleman and Hippolito. Antonio’s wife has committed suicide by poison after her... (full context)
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Hippolito gives Antonio his heartfelt condolences, which Antonio accepts gratefully. Antonio explains the circumstances of the rape. It... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Antonio vows to avenge his wife’s death, and asks the other men present to commit to... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon, cunningly calling for help: “Pistols! Treason! Murder! Help! Guard my lord / The Duke!” Antonio and guards enter. Vindice and Hippolito seize the Fourth Man, alleging him to be the... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Hippolito addresses Antonio, telling that the “hope / Of Italy” now rests in his hands. Antonio vows to... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Vindice announces to Antonio that it was he and Hippolito who orchestrated the murder of the Duke, bragging that... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Vindice appeals to Antonio, saying that the murders served him well—but Antonio counters that “you that would murder him... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Vindice and Hippolito are dragged away by guards, leaving Antonio alone on stage. He expresses his disbelief at the recent bloody events and hopes Hippolito... (full context)