Monday, April 17, 2006

Titus Andronicus - Very Last Thoughts


We come to the close of our conversation on Titus Andronicus. Ernst is right; I've probably said enough. I am impressed though. In far too short a time, we've made our way from Seneca to Northrop Frye, from Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy to Hamlet to Dryden's All for Love, from Camp to nihilism, with a little Watergate and The Gospel of Judas thrown in for good measure. And we've left a few questions, like Geronimo's son, hanging. Regarding our conversation on the possible "campy" quality of Titus, I was amused to find this comment from Mark Van Doren:

"The uniqueness of 'Titus Andronicus' among Shakespeare's plays as being the only one that is inhuman may be attributable to the inexperience of its author; if we could at any rate be sure about the time of its concoction we might say that it was a first attempt to do as much as was well done in 'Richard III.' Or chronology failing us, we might point to the alien Roman scene, and note the greater success with which Shakespeare, studying under Holinshed, had absorbed a portion of the English past ... Or, as a desperate resort we might dally with the proposition that 'Titus Andronicus' was a conscious parody of the tragedy of blood considered as a current form" (Shakespeare, 28-29).

Hmmm. A "desperate resort," eh? Dr. Schoen-Rene, I think you've been insulted.

Vengeance can be yours when we return, on May 7, to discuss Henry VI, part 1. 'Til then ... blood pudding anyone?


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