This Oxford World's Classics compilation, Four Revenge Tragedies, warrants five stars. The four plays exemplify widely different ways that the revenge genre can be elaborated, and all four stories make good reading. More importantly, the lengthy introduction by Katharine Eisaman Maus is exceedingly helpful, particularly in the way its compares and contrasts the four selections. Moreover, her extensive explanatory notes are quite valuable.
Even if you are interested in only one of the four plays, I highly recommend this anthology. Understanding how a particular play compares to other Elizabethan and Jacobean drama of the same genre will add both understanding and pleasure to your reading.
The Spanish Tragedy (1587, Thomas Kyd) and The Revenger's Tragedy (1606, uncertain authorship) culminate in bloody, disproportionate revenge. Kyd's play is credited with directly influencing Shakespeare while elements within The Revenger's Tragedy mirror aspects of Hamlet (1601). The other two relatively unfamiliar plays, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois (George Chapman, 1609) and The Atheist's Tragedy (Cyril Tourneur, 1609), are less conventional and are sometimes classified as anti-revenge plays.
These four rather different plays do share some common features. Katharine Eisaman Maus argues that the protagonist must confront a dreadful situation not of his own making. Moreover, institutional justice is not available; in many cases individuals in high authority have committed the crime.
The fascination of revenge drama revolves around a moral dilemma: does the protagonist's victimization exonerate him - at least partially - for exacting revenge? What if the revenge itself proves excessive and disproportionate to the original crime? And what is the role of divine justice in compensating for failures in human justice?
I have reviewed the four plays elsewhere under their individual titles. I gave five stars to both The Spanish Tragedy and The Revenger's Tragedy, four stars to The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, and three stars to The Atheist's Tragedy.
Despite my lower rankings, the anti-revenge plays are both intriguing as we observe the protagonists steadfastly resist the natural impulse to take revenge. Clermont D'Ambois, consistent with his Stoic philosophy, goes no further than to challenge the killer of his brother to a duel. The pious Charlemont in The Atheist's Tragedy relies entirely on divine justice, and refuses to make any direct effort on his own part to revenge the death of his father, the forced marriage of his intended bride to another man, and the loss of his inheritance.