Sunday, July 17, 2011

How He Did It: Titus Andronicus

Taking a step back and looking at this, it’s stunning how much big, kitschy motifs he stuffs into this thing. He doesn’t shy away from anything, never says, “Hey, you can’t have a rape and a murder and torture and patricide in one play.” He’s not interested at all in the little subtle everyday stories that are so fascinating in their details. Fuck that, he wants more blood.

In fact, it’s almost as if you could take his plays and write a catalog of “Big Things” – all the huge themes and motifs that go far beyond everyday life:

Family murder (here: father kills son, but also, in other plays, patricide and fratricide)
Loyalty and Betrayal
Honor and Betrayal of Honor
Sorrow and Suffering
Ranting against the gods / fate
Decadence and Hypocrisy
Incest (not here, in other lays – can’t believe he left out incest)
Evil (Aaron, others)
Young Love
Stealing of someone’s else’s love
Character / Courage / Honor
Youth and Old Age
Racism and Sexism
Bodily Mutilation
Gore and Imaginative Ways of Killing, Maiming and Torturing
Downfall of a nation / dynasty
Brotherly rivalry and family disintegration
Loss of children
Loss of / theft of fortune
Cannibalism (Cooking your enemies into a pie and making your other enemies eat it)

What else? There must be more here.

In fact, I am tempted to take the catalog and try to write a play and stuff all these things in it and see what happens. That must be how Shakespeare wrote this one.

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