Friday, 9 May 2014

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus

The Olay is currently on at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London

Written between 1588 & 1593

The play is set during the latter days of the Roman Empire and tells the fictional story of Titus, a general in the Roman army, who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with Tamora, Queen of the Goths.

It is said to be Shakespeare's bloodiest and most violent work.


Saturninus & Bassianus squabble over who'd be Emperor when their royal father died.

Marcus Andronicus (the tribune & Titus' brother) told them that the renowned general ( Titus) would be the next Emperor

Titus came back from war with prisoners ( Tamora, her 3 sons & her lover, Aaron the Moor )

Despite the desperate pleas of Tamora, Titus sacrifices her eldest son, Alarbus, in order to avenge the deaths of his own sons during the war. Distraught, Tamora and

her two surviving sons, Demetrius and Chiron, vow revenge on Titus and his family.

Titus refuse the throne but supports Saturninus' bid to be Emperor. Saturninus promises to marry Titus' daughter Lavinia

But Lavinia is already betrothed to Bassianus. Titus would have none of it, accuses all those who oppose the marriage of treason, and kills his own son, Mutius, in the scuffle

Saturninus is put off the Andronicus family by this, he marries Tamora instead

Tamora & her sons see the opportunity for revenge!

Her sons, Demetrius & Chirion, kill Bassianus, rape and maim his wife, Lavinia ( they cut off her hands & tongue) and, through the help of Aaron ( a Moor who is in a sexual relationship with Tamora) , frame Titus' sons, Marcus & Quintus

Saturninus sentences them to death for the murder of his brother

Titus is overcome with grief at the misfortune that has befallen his two sons & daughter

Aaron then visits Titus, falsely telling him that Saturninus will spare Martius and Quintus if either Titus, Marcus or, Titus's remaining son, Lucius, cuts off one of their hands and sends it to him.

Titus has Aaron cut off his hand and send it to the emperor, but in return, a messenger brings Titus Martius and Quintus' severed heads, along with Titus's severed left hand.

Desperate for revenge, Titus orders Lucius to flee Rome and raise an army among their former enemy, the Goths.

Later, Lavinia 'writes' the names of her attackers in the dirt, using a stick held with her mouth and between her stumps.

Tamora secretly gives birth to a mixed-race child, fathered by Aaron. Aaron kills the midwife and nurse and flees with the baby to save it from Saturninus' inevitable wrath.

Lucius, marching on Rome with an army, captures Aaron and threatens to hang the infant. To save the baby, Aaron reveals the entire revenge plot to Lucius.

Back in Rome, Titus pretends as if he is insane. Convinced of his madness, Tamora, Chiron and Demetrius approach him, dressed as the spirits of Revenge, Murder, and Rape. Tamora (as Revenge) tells Titus that she will grant him revenge on all of his enemies if he can convince Lucius to postpone the imminent attack on Rome.

Titus agrees and sends Marcus to invite Lucius to a reconciliatory feast. Revenge then offers to invite the Emperor and Tamora as well, and is about to leave when Titus insists that Rape and Murder (Chiron and Demetrius) stay with him.

When Tamora is gone, Titus cuts their throats and drains their blood into a basin held by Lavinia. Titus then grinds the bones of Demetrius and Chiron into powder and bake their heads.

The next day, during the feast at his house, Titus asks Saturninus if a father should kill his daughter when she has been raped. Saturninus agrees, so Titus kills Lavinia, telling Saturninus of the rape.

Titus then reveals that Chirion & Demetrius have been baked in the pie Tamora has just been eating.

Titus then kills Tamora, and is immediately killed by Saturninus

The Emperor himself is subsequently killed by Lucius to avenge his father, Titus' death.

Lucius is then proclaimed Emperor.

He gives Saturninus a state burial, throws Tamora's body to the wild beasts outside the city, and buries the unrepentant Aaron chest-deep so that he is left to die of thirst and starvation.

There's also a 1999 film adaptation of this revenge tragedy:



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