Antonio’s Revenge by John Marston was written in between the years 1599-1600 as a late Elizabethan play. In the prologue of the play, it is revealed that Antonio’s Revenge is actually the sequel to another one of Marston’s plays called Antonio and Mellida. If there are to be any confusions as to where the play starts, that is because it is picking up where the first play ended.
For some background information as to where the characters in this current play stand, Antonio and Mellida was about Piero’s attempt to disrupt the marriage and love of his daughter and Antonio’s, who is the son of his rival the Duke of Genoa, Andrugio. During one point in the plot, Antonio is shipwrecked and he takes this opportunity to disguise himself as an Amazon and goes to Venice to convince Mellida to go with him. Unfortunately, when the two lovers become separated, Mellida is taken back to Venice in which her father continues to prevent her from being with Antonio. Andrugio decides to help his son and Mellida, and to bring peace between Genoa and Venice, by going to the Venetian court and tells Piero that Antonio has been murdered. Andrugio carries his son’s coffin in to the court and Piero is moved by his enemy’s actions, embraces Andrugio, and confesses he wishes Antonio were still alive in order to marry his daughter. As this was a ploy the whole time, Antonio emerges from the coffin that his death was truly fake. By bringing peace between the two cities, Antonio and Mellida are able to finally marry one another.
In the beginning of the play, we are brought to Piero’s bloody acts, which are to have occurred between Antonio and Mellida‘s ending and the start of Antonio’s Revenge. Piero, Mellida’s father, is still not fond of the idea of his daughter getting married to Antonio. The information that we need on the characters has already been established in Antonio and Mellida.
As the play progresses, we can see Antonio’s Revenge has some similarities to that of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The appearance of Andrugio’s ghost to Antonio is a very obvious similarity of the two; he tells Antonio how he was murdered, how his wife has fallen in love with the murderer, who he says is Piero, and asks his son to get revenge for what has happened.
It will be interesting to see how Antonio will go along with the plan in getting revenge on his father’s murder or if he will be as delayed in the process as Hamlet was, or if he’ll maybe face the same fate.