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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: July ::
Titus Andronicus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0266  Wednesday, 7 July 2010

[1]  From:      Markus Marti <
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     Date:      July 6, 2010 6:02:56 PM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus
 
[2]  From:      David Evett <
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     Date:      July 6, 2010 8:41:19 PM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus

[3]  From:      John W Kennedy <
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     Date:      July 6, 2010 11:10:13 PM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus
 
[4]  From:      Richard Waugaman <
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     Date:      July 7, 2010 6:16:52 PM EDT
     Subj:      SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Markus Marti <
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Date:         July 6, 2010 6:02:56 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0262  Titus Andronicus
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus

To answer some of your questions, if there were any:

a) Yes. b) Yes indeed. c) Why not?

Aaron is just a poor devil. The main villain in the play is probably Titus -
- apart from everybody else, my namesake Uncle Marcus excluded.

Cheers, Markus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         David Evett <
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Date:         July 6, 2010 8:41:19 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0262  Titus Andronicus
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus

Seneca explains a lot, including important elements of both rhetoric and 
prosody. Member of a culture in which the esthetic and psychological appeal 
of violence was frequently invoked in the arena, and in literature not less 
magisterial than Vergil.

For what it's worth the Actors' Shakespeare Project did an inventive, 
moving, all-male production of the play in Boston a couple of years ago that 
got enthusiastic print and word-of-mouth reviews: final week pretty well 
sold out.

David Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         John W Kennedy <
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Date:         July 6, 2010 11:10:13 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0262  Titus Andronicus
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus

Felix de Villiers 
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  wrote,

>But we leave the play shattered by its cruelties. It cannot 
>conceivably be, as some would like to claim, a jeering take 
>off on the revenge tragedy. It simply does not read that 
>way. You can't do a satire on a woman who is raped, has her 
>arms and tongue lopped of, even if you wanted to.

Actually, I've read worse in slush. No, really. And, no, you don't want to 
know any more; trust me.

But considering the direct question, "Is 'Titus Andronicus' simply a bad 
play?" I have always answered in the negative, not only because, when well 
directed and acted, the thing does demonstrably work, but because I have 
always considered the fly-killing scene exemplary.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Richard Waugaman <
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Date:         July 7, 2010 6:16:52 PM EDT
Subject: Titus Andronicus
Comment:      SHK 21.0262  Titus Andronicus

One dimension of the play's 'sublime poetry' is the elevation of 
Shakespeare's language through his characteristic echoes of Sternhold and 
Hopkins' Whole Book of Psalms. In this case, Psalm 6 is echoed recurrently, 
throughout the play. The gist of the psalm could be captured as 'Vengeance 
is mine, saith the Lord.' So allusions to this psalm remind us that Titus is 
usurping God's role in trying to exact revenge. When Titus appeals to the 
tribunes to spare the lives of his sons, his echoes of Psalm 6 subtly imply 
that the tribunes can enact God's role in that psalm if they forgive Titus's 
sons. But his allusions to the psalm go on to highlight Titus's arrogance in 
failing to emulate the humility of the psalmist. In 5,2,17-42, Titus's 
exchange with the 'disguised' Tamora contains further echoes of Psalm 6. 
Titus begins making these echoes, and Tamora then follows suit with even 
more echoes; it is reminiscent of characters who adapt to another 
character's mode of address (you or thou). In terms of the question of 
Titus's sanity in this exchange, his final psalm echoes of the 7th verse of 
Psalm 6 signal to the audience that he is at least sane enough to know that 
Tamora is his 'foe.'

Richard Waugaman

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