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Titus Andronicus

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  17,945 Ratings  ·  1,042 Reviews
This controversial new series raises fundamental questions about the authenticity of Shakespeare's texts as we know them today. In a radical departure from existing series, it presents the earliest known editions of Shakespeare's plays -- which often differ substantially from the present versions -- and argues that these are the most authentic we have.
Paperback, Third Series, 308 pages
Published March 16th 1995 by Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare (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 ...more
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.
Bookdragon 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
Wherein Shakespeare beats Quentin Tarantino at being Quentin Tarantino.
Jan 08, 2012 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?
Mar 09, 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.

Feb 09, 2017 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"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) become
Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
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.
Apr 03, 2014 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
Nick Pageant
Jan 18, 2015 Nick Pageant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
After reading Madeline's hilarious, spot-on review, I had to read this troublesome play again.

First, I'll be honest, I came to my love of Shakespeare a little late. I was raised on rodeos, not theater, and I had never bothered with plays because I figured I would not understand them, so I waited until I was forced to take a survey of Shakespeare plays in college. Thanks to a wonderful professor, I can now say that I love Shakespeare as much as the next guy of middling intellect.

This particular
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
Dec 31, 2009 Bram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 07, 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):

+ [image error]

as well as Yosemite Sa
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
Liz Janet
Feb 28, 2015 Liz Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Blood, death, revenge, blood, “I have done thy mother,” rape, involuntary cannibalism, blood.

G.R. Reader
Lends substance to the persistent rumor that Shakespeare was one of the screenwriters for Saw 3.
May 30, 2008 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 19, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater
Mar 14, 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.
Melissa Rudder
Jan 23, 2008 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
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 11, 2013 Kay rated it it was ok
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
Wendy,  Lady Evelyn Quince
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2017 Melora rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Okey doke. I let this one percolate (fester?) in my brain for a day after finishing before commenting, hoping I would come to appreciate something about it. Nope. I can see the "campy" black humor appeal, but it's too black for me and it doesn't come close to making up for the sheer... awfulness. The characters are ridiculous, the story is absurd. (view spoiler) ...more
Brooklyn Tayla
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Titus Andronicus, William Shakespeare
Jan 01, 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
Sincerae Smith
I decided to go back and start reading, when I'm in the mood, William Shakespeare's lesser known or least popular plays. I read all of his major plays beginning in the 9th grade on into college when I was majoring in English literature. I can say that Shakespeare opened the doors to graduate school for me because I wrote a paper about Othello which my professor was really impressed by.

Taking up where I left off reading Shakespeare years ago, I decided to read Titus Andronicus which some dispute
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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” 33 likes
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