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Titus Andronicus [Paperback]

William Shakespeare

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Book Description

2 Mar 2011
In his earliest and most graphic bloody tragedy, William Shakespeare brings us a depiction of the cycle of revenge that takes place between the Roman general Titus and his enemy Tamora, the Queen of the Goths.

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Titus Andronicus + Henry V : (Wordsworth Classics)
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Amazon Review

Shakespeare's most violent and gory play, Titus Andronicus was written in 1592, and represents the dramatist's first foray into the popular genre of revenge tragedy (many editors argue with at least one other collaborator). The result was spectacular, including scenes of murder, human sacrifice, rape, bodily mutilation and cannibalism. Set in late-imperial Rome, the action begins with the Roman general Titus Andronicus and his triumphant return from wars with the Goths. Leading Queen Tamora and her sons as prisoners, Titus stumbles into a power struggle between Saturninus and his brother Bassianus. Titus fatally backs Saturninus, who rapidly turns on the old general and marries Tamora. The implications for the Andronicus family are disastrous. More of Titus' sons are killed, his daughter Lavinia is brutally raped by Tamora's sons, and as Titus begins his descent into madness and despair he even has his own hand cut off in an act of awful trickery. As Titus plots his bloody revenge, he reflects that "Rome is but a wilderness of tigers". The ending is one of the most gruesome conclusions to any dramatic tragedy, and leaves Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs looking quite restrained. Although the play has put audiences off for centuries due to its apparently gratuitous violence, more recently critics have discerned something more to it than pure shock, but that might say more about us than the Elizabethans. .--Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is a dish best served piping hot from the oven... 9 July 2001
By C. Fletcher - Published on Amazon.com
If you have a weak stomach, you may want to stay the hell away from this play. Just about every disgusting thing that could happen to a human being, both mentally and physically, happens in this early Shakespeare tragedy.
The pages run over with various forms of vile behavior. There's... dismemberment (just about every kind imaginable), torture, people being buried alive, betraying each other, fathers killing their own daughters and hacking off their own hands, and, most gruesomely, baking their enemies in meat pies and serving them to their next of kin on the dinner table.
The last scene alone is enough to make you go vegetarian or at least seriously considering eating another pot-pie ever again. This is a fairly simple revenge tale, but the words and images Shakespeare uses to tell the tale are often breathtaking. It's certainly not as resonant or as deeply drawn as many of his later works--Macbeth and Hamlet are two of my favorites--but there are some great moments here, even if murder, mayhem,... aren't your cup of tea.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what violence is about 22 Aug 2000
By Daniel A. Bergstein - Published on Amazon.com
I understand that this is one of Shakespeares least popular, however I found it to be fantastic. Though not for all tastes, this is a true study of human violence and it's effects. There are no heroes, nor any long classic monolouges, but rather a brutal and nearly comical display of revenge brought forth through many characters.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 12 Jan 2004
By Bethanie Frank - Published on Amazon.com
Since this was Shakespeare's first tragedy - it's understandable how he could write something so utterly out of character for him. Everyone must find their own feet to stand on. I find that the college students I teach respond well to this particular piece. The violence, gore and blood keep our up-to-date students involved. They also seem to respond well to Aaron. They are amazed at the evilness and the twisted plot. I will continue to teach this in my classroom and think this version is just fine for the beginning Shakespeare student.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood, guts and gore: a satire of revenge 30 Oct 2003
By Lovisa Gustaffson - Published on Amazon.com
Titus Andronicus is a tragedy of comical proportions. People are easily raped, maimed, and murdered at the drop of a tongue or arm throughout. Titus' feigned insanity brings wretched results for his edible enemies. The request for a detached hand results in hilarious conversation among a handful of volunteers.
This play reminds me of the scene from the Monty Python and the Holy Grail film where the knight has been chopped arm and limbless but still wants to keep fighting.
Revenge ends in a heap of chopped up bodies in Titus. No, the characters are not fleshed out and in great opportunity of winning your sympathoies; they are not supposed to be. The plot is bigger than the players in this one, and it works this way. Revenge does not take much about a person into account. In the end, only the demonlike Aaron keeps his tongue, but who will listen to him? That, dear reader, is the point.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grand guignol by th'immortal Bard 23 May 2013
By othoniaboys - Published on Amazon.com
One would have thought that this had been written by the marquis de Sade or the comte de Lorde, for horror is piled upon horror until one either vomits or laughs, or possibly both. I read this astonishing play long ago when I was a teenager, and the wildly sensationalistic theme must have appealed to my baser nature. There is certainly nothing in it to appeal to one's better nature. I was at that time still tone-deaf to the finer elements in literature. It would have made a great comic book if Classics Illustrated had dared to adapt it. There is no point in denouncing the monstrous violence of the play, for the violence is obviously the deliberate focus of it. What I don't quite get is how the heck they managed to stage it. How do you stage mutilations and severed heads and all that? For those who say that Shakespeare could not have written this play, let me remind you that a number of his finest plays revolve around murders. Doesn't Hamlet involve a number of murders?
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