Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Titus ramble

If one good deed in all my life I did,
I do repent it from my very soul.


Although Hamlet is well known to all and sundry, Shakespeare's other true revenge tragedy, Titus Andronicus, is more of an acquired taste.

I term the above "true" revenge tragedies because they tick a lot more of the generic boxes than the rest of the Shakespeare canon.


-Corrupt and defunct state justice systems necessitating the revenge process

-Dubious sanity on the part of the hero

-Hero corrupted by the process of revenge

-Conniving villains matching wits with conniving heroes

-Ridiculously intricate methods of killing that would have Blofeld from the Bond films scratching his bald pate and wondering why they don't simply suspend their intended victim over a shark pool with a time-release laser ray aimed at the rope.

-Blood all over the stage, especially during the last act

-More besides

The tragedies of Shakespeare's time knocked spots off the Greek tragedies that preceded them, largely because, in the latter, some mincing thespian would prance onto the stage wearing a "sad face" mask and spew some rhetoric about the terrible calamity that had just taken place off-stage. By the time Shakespeare's plays hit the stage, blood and guts were also hitting the stage- and often the front couple of rows of the audience as well.

Whilst the above may seem terribly lowbrow, "bums on seats" was and is the governing principal of the theatre. Titus Andronicus was pure 100 % unadulterated lowest common denominator, and there probably wasn't a dry seat in the house after the following:

Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?

Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
Even now I curse the day--and yet, I think,
Few come within the compass of my curse,--
Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else devise his death,
Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
Make poor men's cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves,
And set them upright at their dear friends' doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.'
Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.

How I never got round to recommending this for the wall of hate at FKB I'll never know. It's comparable with the Futurama take on Richard Nixon:

Computers may be twice as fast as they were in 1973, but your average voter is as drunk and stupid as ever. The only thing that's different is me; I've become bitter, and let's face it, crazy over the years. And once I'm swept into office, I'll sell our children's organs to zoos for meat, and I'll go into people's houses at night and wreck up the place. Muahahaha!


Brilliant! That would've been the final puzzle piece for the Wall.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Listed on BlogShares