Fathers and Sons (and Mother and Sons… and Father and Daughter)

A little over a week ago, we discussed the concept of brotherhood in Titus Andronicus (to no real conclusion, if memory serves).  Today, let’s take a look at another kind of familial relationship: parent and child.
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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

Race Tract (or “Convenient but Not Conventional”)

There are three races depicted in Titus Andronicus: the Romans, the Goths, and a Moor.
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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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No Fear Shakespeare?

Just found this site: No Fear Shakespeare

According to their website, “No Fear Shakespeare puts Shakespeare’s language side-by-side with a facing-page translation into modern English—the kind of English people actually speak today.”
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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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Non-Titus Tangent

Just came across this great article

The Shakespearean Heroes Science Fiction Should Steal From

If you are at all interested in popular culture, this is a cool little (ok, not so little) article.  io9 is a science fiction website/blog/news site/discussion forum… what a great discovery… it just might become regular reading for me.

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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