A-Z Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus

“Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge. ”

William Shakespeare

Awesomeness: 7/10

Because…it was quite good, and fairly believable, and interesting to think about.

Colour: Red

Date: Probably after 1590, but no later than 1593

Events: Titus Andronicus and his sons return to Rome from a successful war with the Goths. They sacrifice the son of the captured Queen Tamora to appease the ghosts of the sons who died. The new Emperor of Rome, Saturninus, marries Tamora, who plots revenge; eventually, she gets it by having her sons rape Titus’ daughter Lavinia and cut off her hands. Titus’ sons are also executed by Saturninus after being falsely accused of the murder of his brother Bassianus, who was married to Lavinia. Titus plots revenge against Tamora; eventually, he gets it by killing Tamora’s sons, serving them in a pie to their mother, and then killing her. He tops it all off by murdering Lavinia to save her from her shame; then Saturninus stabs him, Titus’ remaining son stabs the Emperor, and all the survivors give each other sidelong glances and pretend nothing happened. The End.

First line: “Noble patricians, patrons of my right”

Genre: Tragedy. Very definitely. Revenge tragedy, if you want to be more specific.

High point: The bloodbath at the end.

Interesting fact: This was possibly Shakespeare’s first tragedy.

Joke: “Mark, Marcus, mark.” Geddit? I didn’t say it was funny.

Killed: Take a deep breath. Are you ready? Alarbus, Tamora’s son; Mutius, Titus’ son; Bassianus; Martius and Quintus, Titus’ sons; a random clown; Chiron and Demetrius, Tamora’s sons; Tamora; Titus; Saturninus; and, finally, Aaron, Tamora’s lover.

Laughed at: Very briefly, a random clown, who promptly dies. This is not a funny play.

Musical: No. Definitely not.

Number of scenes: 14 spread over 5 acts.

Obscurity: 3/10

Place: Rome

Quote: “Dawning day now comfort hath inspired.”

Role I’d play: Ooh, Tamora would be fun. Evil, but fun.

Stolen from lots of people, including Ovid, Seneca and Livy.

Time: Ancient Rome


Voiced in my head by: For some reason, Aaron is trying to be Peter Dinklage in my head.

Would I see it in a theatre? Yes, probably.

X: The Tenth Line: “If ever Bassianus, Caesar’s son”

“Yes? Hello? What?” (The Snappy Quip): “I know not Jupiter. I never drank with him in all my life.”

Z: The Last Line: “And being dead, let birds on her take pity.”


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