Bodies Stacked Like Cord Wood

first an apology: I’ve been thinking about this concept now for a couple of weeks… but I don’t have time to do the topic justice… the following blog entry begins promisingly, but it turns pretty scattershot pretty quickly… if I get a chance to edit this and make it better, I will.  But for now, it’s all I’ve got…

In Hamlet, we’re told that the flesh is heir to a thousand natural shocks.  But in Titus Andronicus, there are myriad un-natural ones, too.  Rape. Tongue cut out.  Hands cut off.  Men sacrificed.  Children killed then baked into pies and fed to their mother.  Villains buried chest deep and left to die.  It’s an existence filled with pain and distress.  How can man cause such pain to his fellow man? (and here, I’m talking about the characters, not Shakespeare)
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Titus by the numbers

Titus Andronicus:

  • 2522 total lines; shorter than average play, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 2777; average tragedy: 2890)
  • At 498 lines, I.1 is the longest opening scene in the Canon (of course, there’s only scene in the first act)
    • Act One: 498 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 590, average tragedy: 647)
    • Act Two: 524 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 568, average tragedy: 573)
    • Act Three: 385 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 576, average tragedy: 633)
    • Act Four: 545 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 563, average tragedy: 555)
    • Act Five: 570 lines; longer than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 480, average tragedy: 465)
  • 35 lines of prose (only 1.39% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 13.31%])
  • 61 rhyming lines (only 2.42% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 20.10%])
  • 14 scenes; fewer than average (average play: 21; average tragedy: 23)
  • 15 Deaths are a result of the play
    • before the play: 21 of Titus’ sons (not sure how many coffins are brought in for this final trip)
    • on-stage: 9 (Mutius, Bassianus, Nurse, Chiron, Demetrius, Lavinia, Tamora, Titus, Saturninus)
    • off-stage: 5 (Alarbus, Quintus, Martius, the midwife [assumed], the Clown
    • after play: 1 Aaron

Podcast 09: Titus in Pop Culture

This week’s podcast includes a review of the BBC Titus Andronicus and Julie Taymor Titus DVDs, plus a discussion of the rock band Titus Andronicus from Glen Rock, NJ.
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Gimme a Hand, Willya?

Hands are the agents of human action.  Feet may carry us.  Words may move us (metaphorically).  But it is hands to do the work.

You might even say that if eyes are mirrors to the soul, then hands are mirrors to the man (or woman).

And “hands” are a focal point in Titus Andronicus.
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O, Brothers, Where Art Thou?

Titus Andronicus has four different sets of brothers.  I think this is more than any other play (except maybe for a history play (in those War of the Roses plays, the families can get pretty unwieldy).
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Yuks for Yucks

Titus Andronicus.  Dark play.  Tragedy.  Revenge tragedy.  Very bloody.  And yet…

There are numerous opportunities for laughs.  Admittedly, some are pretty sick laughs, but laughs nonetheless.
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Vengeance is Mine

Both Tamora and Titus are on missions of revenge.  Aaron, on the other hand, despite his claims to the contrary, is not out for revenge.  He is simply a villain, a role in which he takes the utmost pride and joy.
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Numbers: Midpoint (or, “Woe is me”… and not ironically, either)

Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory, let’s take a look at Titus Andronicus.

There are 2522 total lines in the play (using our Pelican Shakespeare text, the ones we are using for the entire series).  The midpoint comes at line 239 of Act Three, Scene One.
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Podcast 08: Titus and Tragedy

This week’s podcast includes a discussion tragedy and Titus, plus the launch of a new contest.

NOTE: This is a long podcast. In an attempt to lessen the file size, we used a bit sample rate of 22 kHz instead of our usual 48.  While this successfully lowered file size, it also lessened somewhat the audio quality of this podcast.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

1:20 — Text should be “1580s” instead of “1850s”
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