Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Titus Andronicus - Act I

Titus Andronicus
Act I

I’ll find a day to massacre them all,
And raze their faction and their family,
The cruel father, and his traitorous sons,
To whom I sued for my dear son’s life;
And make them know what ’tis to let a queen
Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.

My plan was to go through Shakespeare’s plays in alphabetical order, thus imposing some sort of structure on the process. Which is what I’ve done for the most part. I didn’t know much about any of the plays before I started this, not even the big name ones like Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and so on. But I knew that Titus Andronicus had a reputation for being one of old Will’s more gruesome efforts. As a once upon a time fan of all things horror fiction and film-related my curiosity got the better of me and I thought I might just skip ahead a bit and see what it was all about.

It’s not exactly Friday the 13th, at least not at this juncture, but then we are only one act into it. In which several parties are clamoring to be leader of Rome when the title character returns triumphant from a war with the Goths. Titus is put forth as the next leader but he declines the honor on the grounds that he’s no spring chicken anymore.

Titus finally agrees to the sacrifice of one of the prisoners, one of the sons of Tamora, queen of the Goths. Who is then married off to Saturninus, the new Roman Emperor. In the meantime, Titus himself bumps off one his own sons, which prompts a bit of a row about where he is to be buried. This is finally settled but before things wind up it’s made pretty clear that Tamora, who seems to have adjusted to her own son’s death well enough, is actually not going to let that one ride.

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