Titus Delicious Evil In Titus Essay


This final dinner scene and the ensuing bloodbath wrings ever last possible ounce of gory drama out of the script; the talking ceases for a time while the camera observes the members of the dinner party all enjoying the pies that contain the blood and bones (and possibly the meat, although this isn't made explicit in either the script or the film) of Tamora's two sons. This makes the extremity of this cannibalistic act far more heightened than the script alone suggests, but it is exactly what the script requires. The perfection of the setup, and the well-coiffed appearance of everyone in attendance, makes the horror of the act and of the play that much more intense. This scene, as well as others in both the script and the film, calls Titus' sanity into serious question. Neither source makes it clear whether or not he is crazy, and again this serves the film far better than any determination made on the part of the director could. In fact, both Taynor's interpretation and the original text could be seen as at least in part asking a question about sanity itself. The line between extreme emotional trauma and insanity is one that is still debated in court cases today, as well as in the medical...


Titus and certain others certainly feel that his actions are entirely justified by the evils that have been practiced against him and his children; Tamora and those in her camp, of course, feel exactly the same way. The "logic" of it all seems to suggest that these characters are perhaps evil, but not insane, but then that raises the question of the sanity of being evil. Are the two by definition mutually exclusive?
We do not receive and answer to this question in Titus Andronicus, and this fact alone makes it a noteworthy drama. It is one of the first to introduce such disturbing elements without providing clarity as to the morality of these acts -- it is almost post-modern in its approach. Taynor's film version captures this ambiguity perfectly, and the constant rising action matched with brilliant pacing does not destroy but rather enhances the dramatic effect of the film. It also keeps the film as faithful as possible to the text we know as Shakespeare's; Taynor refuses to make too many "editorial interventions," instead settling for the far more authentic and powerful dramatic interpretations that are her realm.

Works Cited

Evans, G. Blakemore and M. Tobin, eds. The Riverside Shakespeare. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. In the Riverside Shakespeare.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Evans, G. Blakemore and M. Tobin, eds. The Riverside Shakespeare. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. In the Riverside Shakespeare.

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