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Titus Andronicus

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,129 Ratings  ·  886 Reviews
"I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1589)
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Oct 07, 2011 Madeline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Literally years after people began suggesting that I do this, I finally got around to reading the damn play. So in the words of Bette Davis: fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night. Because here's


TITUS: Man, it's great to be me! I'm an awesome general, all my super-handsome sons are awesome, I have a hot daughter who's engaged to a great guy, and even though the emperor just married my enemy Queen Tamora I'm sure that can never backfire on me! Yessireee,
Bill  Kerwin

Like A Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus is part of a grammar-school-educated Shakespeare's crash-course substitute for a university education. In Errors, he imitated Plautine comedy's plot structure and stock characters, and--in an experiment to see just how much fun the form could hold--doubled the number of comic misunderstandings by doubling the number of identical twins. In Titus, he imitates the violent plots and magisterial rhetoric of Senecan tragedy, and--again as an experiment--double
Kat Stark
Dec 03, 2015 Kat Stark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

My favorite play of all time and not just because of Aaron's amazing line:

But because this is the most bloodiest, most disturbing piece of Shakespeare you could possibly ever read. Rape. Revenge. Cannibalism. That is my jam.
Bookworm Sean
I saw this at Shakespeare’s Globe in London last summer, and was absolutely amazed at the brutal brilliance of the production. The actor who played Titus was superb; he captured Titus’s decent into madness perfectly by evoking a character that started out as strong and fearless to one who ended up unhinged and brutal. It is no wonder though that Titus fell into depravity because his house, and name, has been torn apart by revenge. Consequently, he embraces revenge, causing his madness, because h ...more
Feb 18, 2012 Caris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy fuck.

I have found my Shakespeare.

Meet Titus. He’s having a good day. He just returned from a successful battle, leading the Romans to victory. He’s a national hero. The Emperor favors him and has decided to take Titus’s daughter as a wife. Things couldn’t be better.

Until the Emperor changes his mind and decides to marry the leader of the people Titus just defeated. The very woman who was denied Titus’s mercy when she begged him not to chop her son to pieces as a sacrifice. Hindsight, they s
Barry Pierce
T.S. Eliot once wrote that Titus Andronicus is "one of the stupidest and most uninspired plays ever written". I have to agree.
Wherein Shakespeare beats Quentin Tarantino at being Quentin Tarantino.
Apr 11, 2011 TK421 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary

The only piece of advice I can give is: Prepare yourself, you are about to enter into a world that knows no bounds when it comes to the old saying "enough is enough." Billy saw the line, spit on the line, and then crossed the line.

If reading Shakespeare isn't high on your list, there is an excellent movie called Titus, starring Anthony Hopkins.

Just try not to read/watch it before may spoil your appetite.

Hailey (HailsHeartsNyc)
This play was a bloody, barbaric mess with 90% of the characters dying. I really enjoyed the whole concept of it and how twisted it was however, it was a little bit too savage for my tastes at points, namely the whole Lavinia situation.
Not my favourite Shakespeare play but I definitely think it's worth reading! It's interesting to read this, his first tragedy, and see the elements that have carried onto his later tragedies.
Aug 13, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pulp fiction for the 1600s, Quentin Tarantino in lace collar and puffy pants.

If anyone thinks that Shakespeare is dry and timid, flowery and antiquated, they need to see this, but beware: this is a bloody mess.

One critic, complaining that it was such a caricature that only Mel Brooks should direct, may be close, but I would have Tarantino direct. Another critic wrote that this was the ultimate revenge story and I agree with that as well.

Is it too brutal, too graphically violent for the stage?
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one

Cannibalism, rape, many murders, dismemberment, torture, and infanticide.


Widely regarded as Shakespeare's worst, most despicable play, some people defend him by saying he didn't even write it - that he was just credited with it and it was penned by another.

It's not really the play that comes to mind when people think of old Bill. :)

The Emperor dies. Will Saturninus, the older son, or Bassianus, the kinder son, get the thro
Titus Andronicus, a mais sanguinária peça de Shakespeare, foi representada pela primeira vez entre 1591 e 1593, e bem aceite pelo público da época, caindo em declínio durante o Século XVIII, com o nascimento de uma nova corrente cultural, o Neoclassicismo, mais moderada e que privilegia a beleza em detrimento da violência.
Foi reabilitada em 1955, por uma encenação de Peter Brook, onde mantinham uma ambulância, à porta do teatro, para socorrer os espectadores. Numa produção mais recente, em 2014,
Jan 04, 2010 Bram rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, the-bard
This one is tough to review; after a few days of reflection, I think my difficulty in assessing and/or analyzing Titus Andronicus lies in its straightforwardness. I’d like to be able to comment on character ambiguities, on the glimpses of hope amidst the darkness and slaughter, on Shakespeare’s intentions and achievements outside of the horrifying entertainment on the surface. But I’ve got nothing, really. Even Titus’s young grandson Lucius, a seemingly inconsequential character, just wants to e ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historians will tell you that Titus Andronicus is pure fiction, but I've done research of my own, and I will tell you that it is without doubt the most factually-based of Shakespeare's plays. In the main, this is because there is no time that "didn't exist". After all, aren't we all still "after-Ovid"? And so of all the real people who inhabit this play's bloody spheres, who might the hero be? I would nominate Lavinia, because Lavinia, dear reader, is us. History does to us what Titus Andronicus ...more
Vane J.
Who doesn't like a good revenge tale?

First of all, this play was disgusting. I'm serious, it was disgusting. I'm usually craving (don't blame me) for books with graphic violence. I cannot tell you why, (because I don't really know why) but I like them. I enjoy reading scenes with blood in them... but in this play, they reached a level that was almost sickening.

Titus Andronicus is man that has everything in his life. He has just won a war, and luckily for him, everyone wants him as the new empero
Dec 08, 2008 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: natural born killers, droogs, the devil's rejects
I take a cue from Harold Bloom, who said Titus Andronicus should not be taken seriously at all, and would make the smoothest transition to film if directed by Mel Brooks. It is pure insanity, absolutely rip-roaring, inconceivable madness. Take Popeye (Titus):

and his arch-nemesis Bluto (Saturninus):

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the witch from Snow White (or some other awful beast of a bitch—Tamora)

coupled with Don Logan from Sexy Beast, but in black-face (Aaron, the moor):


as well as Yosemite Sam (Bassianus)
I am shocked, shocked, shocked that this play is officially attributed to Shakespeare. I suppose there is some tenuous evidence linking him to it, but, come on guys, it would never stand up in court. And, in particular, it should never stand up on Goodreads, which has such inordinately high standards concerning questions of authorship.

Let's be reasonable: if the official policy is that the Quran is supposed to be listed as "by Anonymous", then surely the same label is appropriate here? Though I
Jan 17, 2009 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: Mr. Hartman, 12th grade English
Titus Andronicus is one of Shakespeare's earliest tragedies. A detail that comes through in many aspects of the play, particularly its over-the-top, in-your-face violence. Little is left to the audience's imagination except for the rape and mutilation of Lavinia and the execution of Quintus and Martius, Titus' sons.

Many would like to distance Shakespeare from this play. As if it were a piece of hackwork he threw together to pay the rent but it's actually quite Shakespearean, if a bit rough aroun
Jan 05, 2015 Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the likes of hannibal lecter and jack the ripper
It seems Billy Shakes was relieving some blood rage with this one.

This play relates a violent and gory cycle of revenge between Titus, a Roman general, and Tamora, the Queen of the Goths. I’d say it’s like the Oresteia on crack, but the events of the Oresteia are nowhere near as messed up as in this play. The atrocities reach shocking heights, including but not limited to, rape, mutilation, and cutting off tongues—and that's just the crap committed against one person in the span of, like, an ho
Melissa Rudder
Dec 04, 2013 Melissa Rudder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going to write my review of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus with only a reader’s response critique, because it actually seems like the most powerful type I can offer.

My first response when reading the play was to think that it wasn’t Shakespeare. (The origins of some plays accredited to Willy are hotly debated, and Titus’ story is one of them.) About half way through, I realized that I was questioning who authored Titus Andronicus because I was *hoping* that it wasn’t Shakespeare. T
Wendy,  Lady Evelyn Quince
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2016 Jaksen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
G.R. Reader
Lends substance to the persistent rumor that Shakespeare was one of the screenwriters for Saw 3.
Jan 08, 2010 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Reading Titus Andronicus turned me into one of those most hated audience members—you know, the kind that guffaws cynically at every tragic plot twist, that seems to laugh out of simple reflex, not wanting to let anything too terrifying or troubling get too close for emotional comfort. I'll admit, with every horrific stage direction (the infamous "enter... Lavinia, her hands cut off and her tongue cut out, and ravished"), and every unbelievable—and unbelievably cruel—narrative development (Chiron ...more
Jan 19, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater
Jan 02, 2010 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drah-mah
Think Quentin Tarantino and Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

Screw Hamlet’s anguished indecision, Macbeth’s squeamishness, Lear’s wails in the wilderness, or Lady Macbeth’s protracted guilt. This is Shakespeare’s action adventure, where characters act seemingly on impulse, and no deed is too terrible to contemplate. Shakespeare drains Titus Andronicus of the type of internal monologues typically characterizing his serious plays, and serves us – literally and figuratively – relentless revenge. Yet, in the mann
Liz Janet
Jan 20, 2016 Liz Janet rated it it was amazing
Blood, death, revenge, blood, “I have done thy mother,” rape, involuntary cannibalism, blood.

Nov 06, 2011 skein rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
Hamlet is better-written; but Titus is more fun.

Okay, but really. The characters are cruel and sarcastic. After his daughter is raped and tortured, his son dead by his hands, his son-in-law murdered, and his own hand removed in a wicked, failed plot to save the life of (yet more) sons - after all this, and I skipped over a good bit - Titus mocks the hell out of his brother, the good Marcus, who kills a fly at the dinner table.

A deed of death done on the innocent
Becomes not Titus' brother: get t
Alp Turgut
Gücünü Ovidius'un "Metamorphoses / Metamorfoz" başyapıtındaki Philomela'nın öyküsünden alan Shakespeare'in ilk tragedyası "Titus Andronicus", her satırında Shakespeare imzası taşıyan ünlü yazarın güçlü tragedyalarından biri. Okudukça aynı bir Sophokles veya Euripides tragedyası okuyormuş hissi uyandıran oyunun şiddet oranı diğer Shakespeare oyunlarına nazaran oldukça fazla. Öte yandan, Shakespeare'in karakterlerini yeni oturtmaya başladığı eserde Titus, Lavinia, Tamorra, Saturninus ve Bassianus ...more
Greg Kerestan
Shakespeare's tragedies have never shied away from graphic violence and melodrama, but "Titus Andronicus," one of his supposed collaborative efforts, does away with the highbrow contemplation of philosophy and morality that balances the gore and grue of those plays. Almost all the characters in "Titus" are nasty pieces of work, and the whole show plays out like "Sweeney Todd" without the subtlety. Granted, Shakespeare is still a master craftsman of verse, but it seems almost at odds with the Gra ...more
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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“Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done?
Aaron: That which thou canst not undo.
Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.
Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.”
“Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, Blood and revenge are hammering in my head” 28 likes
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