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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Endings of Titus Andronicus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0308  Wednesday, 19 February 2003

From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Monday, 17 Feb 2003 08:30:10 -0500
Subject:        Endings of Titus Andronicus

Has a case ever been made for the Q2 (and Q3 and Folio) ending (as a
revision)?  It strikes me as far better than the Q1 ending, which comes
across as particularly hokey in the Taymor film.  Q2 foregrounds the
scapegoating of Aaron, a practice we see frequently in Shakespeare's
endings.  In his Arden edition, Jonathan Bate includes the fly killing
scene from the Folio (not in Q1) while basing his edition on Q1.  But if
part of the Folio can be included as Shakespeare's revision, why not the
ending?  Though each quarto after Q1 introduces new errors, the ending
of Q2 is obviously not an error.  Why don't editors adopt it?

Q1
LUCIUS
  Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
  And give him burial in his father's grave:
  My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
  Be closed in our household's monument.
  As for that heinous tiger, Tamora,
  No funeral rite, nor man in mourning weeds,
  No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
  But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey:
  Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity;
  And, being dead, let birds on her take pity.

Q2
LUCIUS
  Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
  And give him burial in his father's grave:
  My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
  Be closed in our household's monument.
  As for that heinous tiger, Tamora,
  No funeral rite, nor man in mourning weeds,
  No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
  But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey:
  Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity;
  And, being so, shall have like want of pity.
  See justice done on Aaron, that damn'd Moor,
  By whom our heavy haps had their beginning:
  Then, afterwards, to order well the state,
  That like events may ne'er it ruinate.

  Exeunt

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