I originally planned on covering this play last October – something fitting about reading Shakespeare’s bloodiest play during the Halloween season. I read one act and then abandoned it. The US presidential election happened in the middle of my reading. My news feed, my friends, my own head, were all filled with such dread, quoting so many voices of violence and anger as well as despair…I just couldn’t take the evil revenge fantasy of this play at the same time (I picked up a copy of the sonnets instead).
Ugh, this play, y’all. Titus Andronicus can be pretty revolting (it’s especially hard to watch/read Lavinia’s arc), even for a lover of horror films like me. Not to mention, it’s downright clunky. It is considered one of Shakespeare’s earliest works, one that tends to be viewed through a lens of knowledge on his later plays. The younger Shakespeare gives us a shocking, gory, thrill-ride plot with juvenile characters that focus on action rather than self-analysis. The mature playwright dove inward with his characters as his writing progressed, sometimes to the degree that analysis outweighed action. It makes sense that his writing would grow and become more refined and nuanced as the man himself sharpened his skills…and just grew older and lived more life. As we all get older and gain more experience, don’t we do the exact same thing?Read More