In the spirit of The Toast’s “How to Tell If You’re in a _____________ Novel” series, I present:
How to Tell If You’re in a Renaissance Revenge Tragedy
Your name, when translated, actually means “revenge.”
A ghost wants you to do him a favor.
You have had sex with someone totally wrong for you—like your husband or your stepmother.
You have a personal relationship with a skull.
No one around you has decent night vision or the ability to see through disguises.
You have caused a string of accidental casualties this week.
You haven’t realized that there is always someone behind the tapestry.
You are a woman who is either a mother, or old enough to be somebody’s mother. Therefore you are an unprincipled wanton.
You are in an Italian city-state. Or Denmark. Or Spain. But definitely not England. Nope. Nothing English about this place.
You are eating or drinking something. It is poisoned.
You find yourself at a court where incest is pretty much de rigueur.
Your wildest fantasies involve an orgy of violence. And possibly cannibalism.
Your brother believes he is a wolf.
You are busy setting up a play or masque that will prove your nemesis is evil. You already know he is evil, and no one will understand the implications of your play, except your stoic best friend and/or brother.
Your hobbies include reading and feigning madness.
You are a woman. One of your male relatives is spying on you, obsessed with the condition of your hymen and/or womb. You will end up mad or dead or both.
Whenever someone writes a letter, someone else dies.
You are a woman. You marry the man you love. You find that this is a mistake.
If you are likeable, you prefer to kill people by stabbing them or poisoning them, in that order. If you are unlikeable, reverse the order.
You are in a room with everyone you hate (who isn’t already dead) and everyone you love (who isn’t already dead). You are all going to die, with one exception.
You are not the exception.