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"And let me say, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators!"
- William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, Act III.1
Shakespeare's first Tragedy is not perfect. It is bloody, predictable, racist, and gratuitous to the extreme. However, it probably deserves better attention than it usually gets (well there is the Julie Taymor film). I think this early Shakespeare's villain (Aaron the Moor) is diabolical and fantastic. Yes, I'm not a fan of the easy way the moor (or often the Jew) becomes the bad guy in Shakespeare's plays, but I'm also not a fan (at all) of judging Shakespeare by a morality that the 21st century only so far corrects. We have plenty of racist motes in our own eyes, thank you very much. I love the wickedness of the Goth Queen Tamora. I love Titus and his brother Marcus. Again, the poetry is not fully mature. The plot is still a bit overripe and overwrought. But ye gads, Shakespeare's pen can still pull some dangerous couplets out of the air.
There were also several nice lines, specifically:
- "For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar.
'Tis policy and stratagem must do
That you affect; and so you must resolve,
That what you cannot as you would achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
- "Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee,
O, could our mourning ease thy misery!"
- "Let fools do good, and fair me call for grace,
Aaron will have his should black like his face."
- "Now is the time to storm; why art thou still?"
- "Can the son's eye behold his father bleed?
There's meed for meed, death for a deadly deed!"
- "For when no friends are by, men praise themselves."
- "If one good deed in all my life I did,
I do repent it from my very soul."
12 of 17 people found this review helpful
Grisly and unflinching and limited by a source material that is far from The Bards best work, the cast and direction nevertheless carry this to a near triumph. Titus is so ephemeral, at one moment murdering a son and another bewailing the lives of two others, at one moment sending messengers to Pluto to find Justice, another calmly revealing he has seen through the disguises of his tormentors, it is a challenge to make this man in any way unified. But this actor patches the extremes together with believability and pathos. A very worthy exploration of sorrow , madness and revenge
Found this quite hard to listen to as it is so relentlessly gruesome. Nevertheless it is faultlessly produced and another triumph in this series.
A review requires at least fifteen words. Why, they they are all, baked in that pie.