The violence in Titus Andronicus is initiated with the ritualistic disemboweling and sacrifice of Tamora's son by Titus, in order to appease the ghosts of Titus's dead sons.
The vengeful violence generated by this act stains the remainder of the play: Lavinia is raped and dismembered, Tamora's sons—Lavinia's rapists—are murdered, then prepared as a feast by Titus for Tamora, Lavinia is killed by Titus, Titus kills Tamora, Saturninus kills Titus, and Lucius kills Saturninus.
Richard Marienstras observes that much of the play's violence occurs within the boundaries of sacrifice or hunting. The critic argues that by characterizing the violence in this way, Shakespeare explored the dichotomy between Roman civilization and the wildness of nature.
Only Titus's death ends this cycle, Slights maintains. Virginia Mason Vaughn demonstrates the way Roman civilization is contrasted with Gothic barbarity. Vaughn examines the depiction of Romans, who are supposedly civilized citizens, as committing barbarous acts, and argues that this depiction raised questions for the English citizens of the late s and early s about the meaning of civilization and about England's role as a colonizer. As Lavinia is the object of much of the play's violence, a great deal of critical attention is paid to her character.
Not only is Lavinia raped by two men, she is mutilated by them as well—her tongue and hands are removed as an attempt to prevent her from identifying her attackers.
In the end, Lavinia is killed by her father in an effort to assuage the shame that her rape has brought upon herself and her family. Rudolf Stamm focuses on Lavinia's role in Titus, showing how she operates as a stimulating agent for the violence of her relatives and at the same time is allowed by Shakespeare to have a personal identity.
Through Lavinia, Stamm concludes, Shakespeare honed the theatrical technique of the non-verbal expression of emotion. Bernice Harris notes as well that Lavinia's status in the play is symbolic. This type of upbringing taught self-expression, which was viewed by some as a social threat. The influence of Ovid, in particular the Metamorphoses, on the play has been examined by twentieth-century critics such as Eugene Waith see Further Reading.
Waith concludes that the Ovidian principle Shakespeare borrowed—the transformation of individuals through passion and suffering—cannot be reproduced in the theater. Like Hunter, Naomi Conn Liebler identifies Herodian's History as a source of Shakespeare's portrayal of Rome, stating that the political situation in the play includes references to specific situations depicted by Herodian.
Liebler concludes that while Aaron, Tamora's sons, and the Andronicus family may be entirely fictitious, the Rome of Titus is definitely not. Hughes also reviews the issues of greatest concern among twentieth-century critics, noting that the violence in the play receives a considerable amount of attention from modern scholars. The earliest reliable reference to Titus Andronicus comes from the Diary of the Elizabethan entrepreneur Philip Henslowe, proprietor of the Rose playhouse on Bankside.
Amongst his works, only Venus and Adonis was entered earlier, on 18 April These are the only specific records we have of performances of Titus Andronicus in the public playhouses. Even if the Stationers' Register entry should refer to the prose History, as Adams suggests, 6 there is no particular reason to suspect that the date of Q is wrong.
Accordingly, we may accept January as a pretty reliable terminus ante quem for the composition of Titus Andronicus. The real problems arise when we seek a terminus post quem which is rather more exact than, let us say, Shakespeare's twelfth birthday. The evidence for the former is reviewed below … ; evidence for the latter is slight and circumstantial.
Since it was in Danter's commercial interest to present his Q edition as the authentic text of a playhouse success, we cannot be certain that the information printed on the title page is perfectly accurate. Nevertheless, it gives unique information about the play's history: The reference to Sussex's Men tends to confirm that Henslowe's entries in January and February of that year refer to Shakespeare's play as published in Q. If the other companies really had performed the play, there is no guarantee that it was in the form that reached print.
The Earl of Derby's Men were simply Lord Strange's under a new name, which they cannot have adopted before their patron succeeded to the title on 25 September ; however, the name used on the title page has more significance for the publication date of Q than for the alleged performances.
Danter would naturally use the patron's new and more impressive title, but there is no real evidence that the performances referred to were recent. On the other hand, the reference to the Earl of Pembroke's Men may push the history of the play, or some form of it, back a little. We have no record of this company before the autumn of , and the last we hear of them for several years is a vivid vignette of Elizabethan theatrical life.
The London playhouses were closed because of the plague, and the companies were dispersed, most of them touring in the provinces. On 28 September , Henslowe wrote to his son-in-law, Edward Alleyn: The fact that Derby's Men are named before Pembroke's may point to an even earlier performance, but speculation on this subject, while fascinating, is bound to be inconclusive: One character bids another welcome,.
While this is not precisely what happens in Titus Andronicus, it is difficult to agree with those who have tried to explain it away in order to support a later date.
Violence is commonplace in Elizabethan drama, but these plays are linked by a bizarre and sensational type of violence in which dismemberment is unusually conspicuous: Lavinia's tongue is cut out, Hieronimo bites his off and apparently spits it onto the stage. Both tragedies have grand old heroes driven mad by suffering and oppression, and the Senecan rhetoric of their madness enjoyed such an enduring vogue that additional mad scenes were commissioned to exploit it.
Similar tastes are reflected in some of Marlowe's earlier plays. The cannibal imagery of the banquet scene in Tamburlaine the Great, Part 1 c. Marlowe even refers to Procne's revenge, a conspicuous theme in Shakespeare's play. Like Aaron, Barabas revels in evil: John Dover Wilson has demonstrated the resemblance. Maxwell notes a close parallel between part of Aaron's defiant confession and a speech in The Troublesome Raigne of John King of England, published in but probably performed several years earlier:.
Apparently, then, Titus Andronicus has much in common with a type of play which was being written before If it was written much after that date, it was a belated specimen of the type. Passing from even such circumstantial evidence to internal evidence is like entering a carnival fun-house with its distorting mirrors. In the light of that remark, it is surprising to find him playing it himself.
Coincidences and common sources are both difficult to rule out, the latter especially when we recall how much Elizabethan literature we have lost. Even when a parallel is as clear as such things may be, we often cannot know which author wrote first, or how much time separated first writing from imitation. Wilson uses this coincidence to argue that Peele not only wrote both passages, but did so at very nearly the same time, and that the play must be slightly the earlier of the two because he thinks the word is better suited to its context there than in the poem.
Furthermore, since the play shows signs of revision, a parallel may belong to either a first draft or a revised version. The same hazards attend any hope of using recent archaeology to date the stagecraft in Titus Andronicus.
Like a verbal parallel, however, this stage business could as easily date from a revision as from the original draft. The only real evidence for the date of the play, then, is external, but it is scanty and not beyond question: Henslowe might have been mistaken, perhaps Danter lied.
With these caveats, we can say that Titus Andronicus was probably established on the stage by mid , and possibly earlier. Circumstantial evidence suggests that it might have been first written several years before: In the end, we can only conjecture or despair. Thus, discarding all pretence of objective proof, I shall base a conjecture upon my subjective assessment of style.
As I have shown, Titus Andronicus resembles several sensational plays which were all written somewhat earlier than Moreover, the writing seems stylistically uneven. Some of it is Ovidian, formal and mannered, as in Marcus's speech to the ravished Lavinia 2.
These passages feel like the work of a young poet. Other portions more closely resemble Shakespeare's mature style: The stagecraft, on the other hand, is as dexterous as anything Shakespeare ever accomplished, which suggests a working familiarity with the theatre.
From these observations I conjecture that the young Shakespeare wrote a crude draft of Titus Andronicus before he turned dramatist—even as early as , when he may still have been living in Stratford; that it accompanied him to London, where nobody would produce it; and that having established himself to Robert Greene's dissatisfaction in , 18 he revised it and offered it either to Strange's or Pembroke's Men.
They may have played it in the provinces. But by the summer of the latter company, being bankrupt and currently in possession of the play, sold it to Sussex's Men, who played it at the Rose in early , and subsequently sold the copy to Danter when plague closed the playhouses.
The scene of Titus's mad banquet, which appears only in the First Folio, was added later. This complicated hypothesis must await the discovery of new, reliable evidence to be tested. It may wait long. It is uncertain whether Shakespeare's major source for Titus Andronicus has survived. The context of the story is the decline of the Roman Empire, but the events are fictional: Shakespeare is unlikely to have invented the story; his only original plots are found in comedy: For tragedy and history plays, he and his fellow dramatists turned to historians such as Livy, Plutarch and Holinshed; to old plays like King Leir or The Troublesome Raigne of John King of England; or to the Italian novella, which the Titus story resembles.
Adams announced his discovery, in the Folger Shakespeare Library, of a volume containing a short prose History of Titus Andronicus and a line ballad, Titus Andronicus' Complaint. Nevertheless, some scholars believe they have found it in either the ballad or the History. Dicey, is known to have reprinted old works on other occasions. It is possible that Johnson merely reprinted a ballad that was old enough to be Shakespeare's source.
No early edition of the History is known, but while spelling and punctuation follow eighteenth-century practice, the diction is archaic. The ballad and the History are linked by an identical couplet, which Lavinia writes with her staff to identify her assailants:.
The History is unlikely to have been the source of the ballad. The latter narrates the incident 5. This is not in the History. Since the ballad is original in no other respect, this incident may be drawn from a lost source, or from the play. The latter seems more likely. Marco Mincoff 21 argues that the ballad is the source of the History, but his case has been exploded by G. Hunter suggests that the ballad was written to capitalise on the popularity of Shakespeare's play.
The History is essentially different from the play. Nevertheless, there must be some link. Since the entire story is fiction, all versions must be related to each other. If this is enough to show that there was a direct link between the play and the History, what is its nature?
If we rule out the ballad as a source, only three possibilities remain: Shakespeare preferred English sources, but he may have been able to read Italian and could certainly read French. No such work is known, however. Both of these plays illustrate how children "pay" for family duty. In Hamlet, Hamlet's duty is to defend Denmark is interrupted by an incessant ghost. After grieving his father's death, the ghost tells Hamlet to seek retribution on his father's "foul and most unnatural murder" Shakespeare Hamlet I.
This conflict trumps any duty from this moment forward, becoming a proverbial albatross around Hamlet's neck. The ghost and his…… [Read More]. Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus as a. This is not to mention that Rome is, at the time, a corrupt power. The most interesting fact regarding these three plays their protagonists is the fact that Shakespeare does not do anything or allow anything to occur that would make us want to sympathize with Titus.
Shakespeare is just as happy letting this man die with the rest of the players with little or no comment. In a sense, he is close to Iago in tone and manner. These differences only emphasize Shakespeare's ability to capture the essence of the human being in his work.
His characters are more than merely characters in a play, they are fully developed people in whom we can see ourselves; they are alive and that is why we keep coming back…… [Read More].
Titus Delicious Evil in Titus. This final dinner scene and the ensuing bloodbath wrings ever last possible ounce of gory drama out of the script; the talking ceases for a time while the camera observes the members of the dinner party all enjoying the pies that contain the blood and bones and possibly the meat, although this isn't made explicit in either the script or the film of Tamora's two sons.
This makes the extremity of this cannibalistic act far more heightened than the script alone suggests, but it is exactly what the script requires. The perfection of the setup, and the well-coiffed appearance of everyone in attendance, makes the horror of the act and of the play that much more intense. This scene, as well as others in both the script and the film, calls Titus' sanity into serious question.
Neither source makes it clear whether or not he is crazy, and again this…… [Read More]. Yet Titus Andronicus differs greatly from its successors, mainly due to the overt application of revenge perpetrated by its numerous and dangerous characters. Wraith sees it, Titus Andronicus as a tragedy swiftly moves "towards a disaster for which the cause is established in the first minutes of action" 8. Shakespeare accomplishes this movement towards disaster through the idiosyncrasies, actions and reactions of many characters bent on revenge via a long list of reasons.
For instance, when Titus Andronicus, known for his victories over the barbarian Goths and candidate for the emperor of Rome, decides to sacrifice Alarbus, Tamora's eldest son, to appease…… [Read More]. Shakespeare's Insistant Theme Imagery Use. He is a General of Rome and father to Lavinia and Lucius.
He is a brave solider of Rome who has spent the last ten years of his life fighting Rome's enemies. Although very successful and praised for his heroic acts, Titus Andronicus now feels incapable of assuming the role his country had envisioned for him.
Tube as a Key ICT. Improving Online Education Programs The growth of "distance education" offerings, also called online education, has been dramatic over the past few years. Also, the authors note that online courses can be boring and even tedious when existing eb-based technologies are not put to use Revere, The authors…… [Read More]. Printing Press and the Internet.
Their respective techniques however, differentiate them from each other. Shakespeare uses a rhyme scheme that became known as Shakespearean rhyme scheme or English rhyme. He writes about love in a sarcastic manner though. He is mocking the traditional love poems and the usual expressive manner in which women are often compared to.
It is ironic in a way because Shakespeare himself also uses the very techniques in his previous writing when he is writing from a man's point-of-view and describing a woman. But in this sonnet he uses the technique of mocking this exaggerated comparison. Usually women are compared to having skin as white as snow, however, in reality, Shakespeare points out, women don't really fit this description, "If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun.
During his time, Shakespeare authored tens of plays, over a hundred sonnets, and several narrative poems and verses Marche, Also, his work is performed more regularly than any other work. Robert Burns, born close to one and a half centuries after the death of Shakespeare, was also a prominent poet.
Titus Andronicus study guide contains a biography of William Shakespeare, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a .
Sep 05, · Suggested Essay Topics. Evelyn Waugh said, "Titus is an arduous part. He is on stage almost continuously as heroic veteran, stoic parent, implacable devotee of barbarous pieties, crazy victim, adroit revenger.".
- The Real Hero of Titus Andronicus I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble -Augustus Caesar (63 BC - 14 AD) In his essay, Titus Andronicus and the . Titus Andronicus literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Titus Andronicus.
Titus Andronicus was the first tragedy written by Shakespeare in It is on of his most gruesome and ambitious plays. It has many recognizable motifs and themes which one will continue to see develop is his later works, but Titus Andronicus is very different from the later plays by Shakespeare partly due to the strong female presence throughout . Titus Andronicus Summary Essay Sample. After ten long years of fighting a war against the “barbarous” Goths, Roman general Titus Andronicus returns home with the bodies of his two dead sons and a crew of important war prisoners, including Tamora (queen of the Goths), her sons (Demetrius and Chiron) and Aaron the Moor.