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Titus Andronicus: The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 8 May 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reissue edition (8 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536108
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Review

`sound and often admirable piece of scholarship. It deals judiciously with the problems of text, authorship and sources, and with the business of clearly and concisely annotating the text' Emrys Jones, Literary Review

'Stanley Wells' OUP Complete Works of Shakespeare is now eight years old and has spawned a new Oxford Shakespeare which appears now in splendidly affordable volumes in that nonpareil of libraries of good reading The World's Classics.'The Oxford Times

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Some critics have dismissed Titus Andronicus as immature; if this view has put you off picking the play up and reading it, I'd say: don't listen to the critics! I personally think Titus is an amazing play, absolutely macabre, most of the time you don't know whether you should laugh or cry. If you like dark, black humour this will surely appeal to you. Consider the reaction of Titus when he sees his daughter Lavinia with her hands chopped off - rather than flying into rage or tears or hysteria, he delivers an elaborate recital of rhetorical poetry brimming with metaphors of blood and grief. Yes, it is violent, and yes, the word blood appears very frequently, as do mutilations and cannibalism, but the contrast between what happens and the beauty of the poetry that emerges out of that savageness is really striking. And those accusing Shakespeare of heartlessness should remember that he did not create the plot, but based his play on a story well-known to all Elizabethans, as he did with all his plays.

Very good edition, with useful and helpful notes, and an informative introduction to the play.
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Format: Paperback
Everything and even more has been written on this play, even that it was not authored by Shakespeare himself, as if it had any kind of weight in analyzing and appreciating the play. It has a perfect shakespearian pattern. Titus Andronicus, a victorious Roman general, comes back home and yields the emperor's throne that is proposed to him to the legitimate heir Saturninus. He also presents the newly chosen Emperor with his prisoners the Queen of the Goths, Tamora, and her two surviving sons, after he has dispatched the third son to the sacrificing altar on which his own four sons cut him up in pieces, limb from limb, and ungut him before burning these offerings for the satisfaction of their twenty one dead brothers. Along with these three war prisoners, understood as slaves that can be dismembered any time for just any kind of rite, comes Aaron, a black Moor with a Jewish name. His skin color will systematically be transferred to his soul and he will be depicted as thoroughly evil, irreligious and misbelieving. The Emperor accepts the present but instead of keeping them as slaves, pleasure slaves, even for the pleasure of a sacrifice or dismemberment, which would have been normal, he marries Tamora and promotes the two sons to princedom and Aaron to counselor to the Queen-Empress. This disturbs the natural order of Rome and it sends the story reeling on the most devilish trail. But we must keep in mind that this barbarity is normal if performed within the canons of Roman society. They only become evil when they go against these canons. The play will run its bloody course till the final rehabilitation or restoration of just Roman order in the person of the last surviving son of Titus Andronicus.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice, small sized book with a matte finish cover that feels high quality. It will come in very handy for carrying to classes and revision sessions.

I bought this for my open book exam, so I wish I had read a bit more into the details of this book as it has a large introduction section that might render it useless if I am now allowed to take it in! But other than that, the pages feel high quality and it's a good book for annotating in as the pen doesn't go through to the other side, which can be distracting.
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Format: Paperback
Gleefully and exuberantly bloody, this is a play awash in severed limbs, gore and body parts. Taking its cue from the huge popularity of revenge drama which left the stage strewn with dead bodies, as well as from Ovid and Seneca both famous for their own macabre stories of bodily disintegration and fragmentation, this is Shakespeare's attempt to challenge what revenge plays might do. Most crucially, deaths and representations of tortured bodies take place not offstage via messenger speeches but in front of our eyes.

Dismissed from the mid-seventeenth century onwards, this play has become popular all over again for its visceral engagements with violence, with torture, and with ideas of what it means to be 'barbaric' or 'civilised' - themes that have a pressing relevancy again for our post-genocide world.

The introduction contextualises the play well, and the commentary and notes elucidate what the language is doing. This is an excellent edition for students or general readers wanting a deeper insight into this excessively violent and gory play.
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Not one of my favourites by Shakespeare. Personally, I don't rate it too highly because I felt that the violence was gratuitous and the play could be executed in a much better way without the extreme violence and gore. Don't get me wrong, I am well are of the conventions of a tragedy and have read and studied most of Shakespeare's plays. I also enjoy horror and action movies so it is not as though I just have an issue with violence in art. I just feel like it could have been done a bit more tastefully. I know I'm criticising one of the world's finest writers (although some studies suggest that this was not all Mr Shakespeare's work) but this book contains rape, murder after murder after murder, mutilation, cannibalism and the cutting of an innocent girl's tongue and hands. However, I have friends who love this play for the reason that it is so explicitly gruesome. I suppose you will either love it or hate it.
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