The Noble Spanish Soldier – Introduction

I list The Noble Spanish Soldier under Dekker’s authorship although many scholars are uncertain of this.  The play was entered in the Stationer’s Register on May 16, 1631, along with The Wonder of a Kingdom and is clearly marked as written by “Tho. Dekker.”  The only reason for doubt is the front page of the quarto edition.  It states that the play was written by “S.R.  Since Samuel Rowley is the only known playwright of the era with those initials, many assume that he authored the play.

The play has much in common with two other plays of the era.  Dekker’s own The Welsh Embassador is a comedic treatment of the same general plot.  The other play has a more curious relationship.  It is The Parliament of Bees by John Day.  Numerous passages in The Noble Spanish Soldier are remarkably similar to passages in Day’s play.  While Dekker’s play appears to be a late composition, Day’s play was apparently written in the latter years of the first decade of the century.  This would suggest that Dekker copied these passages from Day’s play, but this is uncertain.  Some consider the lost play, The Spanish Fig, of 1601 to be an alternate name, or perhaps an earlier version of Dekker’s play.

Dramatis Personæ and address from the printer to the reader

Act One, Scene One

Act One, Scene Two

Act Two, Scene One

Act Two, Scene Two

Act Three, Scene One

Act Three, Scene Two

Act Three, Scene Three

Act Four, Scene One

Act Four, Scene Two

Act Five, Scene One

Act Five, Scene Two

Act Five, Scene Three

Act Five, Scene Four

Return to Dekker page


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