Titus Andronicus: by Shakespeare - Summary

Also Read

      A tragedy by William Shakespeare, perhaps written collaboratively. It was one of the earliest works with which his name was associated. Some critics have argued for a staging as early as 1590. It was published in 1594 and in the First Folio of 1623, where there is an additional scene. No certain source has been identified, although the influence of Seneca is manifest. The play is set in ancient Rome under the empire but is not related to any known emperor or historical event.

      Titus Andronicus returns to Rome in triumph after defeating the Goths, whose queen Tamora and her three sons are among his prisoners. A chain of revenge is started when he sacrifices Tamora’s eldest son to appease the spirits of his own dead sons. There follow, in relentless succession, acts of murder and violence which include the kidnapping of Titus’s daughter Lavinia, the death of his son Mutius, the murder of the late emperor’s son Bassianus, the death of Titus’s son Martius, the rape and mutilation of Lavinia, the self-mutilation of. Titus, the beheading of two more of his sons, the murder of Tamora’s remaining sons and the use of their blood to make pies containing their severed heads, Titus’s mercy killing of Lavinia, his murder of Tamora after she has eaten the pics containing her son’s heads, the killing of Titus by the Emperor Satuminus and of Satuminus by Titus’s remaining son, Lucius. Lucius is elected emperor by the people of Rome, and he decrees honorable burial for Satuminus, Titus and Lavinia. He also orders that the body of Tamora is thrown to the birds and beasts of prey and that her black-skinned and black-hearted lover Aaron be buried up to his neck and left to starve to death.

      Titus Andronicus gives notice of Shakespeare’s later achievements only at rare moments and in the gathering bewilderment and madness of Titus himself.

Previous Post Next Post