Julie Taymor’s Titus Andronicus Essay

Julie Taymor’s Titus Andronicus Essay

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Julie Taymor’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus has many theatrical elements that aid in creating an interpretation of the written play. One of the most prominent elements that Taymor uses is color. Taymor uses color to develop Shakespeare’s characters. Many times throughout the film, color is used to represent a character’s mood or their hidden agenda during a scene. We also see color used to represent good versus evil. The three colors that are most widely used during the movie to show symbolism and imagery are black, white, and red. While there are some references to color in the written text of Titus Andronicus, Taymor’s use of color allows the viewers to see a more clear representation of mood, tone, and character. The colors may be used in costume or in setting. Regardless of how they are used each color plays a large role in distinguishing the tone that is being set for a scene or character.
The first color that is widely used is black. One of the first times that we see the color black used as a symbol is when Aaron is introduced. Aaron is first introduced during the scene when he talks to Demetrius and Chiron about Lavinia. The most notable part of color usage in this scene is that Aaron is introduced in front of a light background (43:15). This background plays a large part because it allows viewers to focus on the dark skin of Aaron. It is important that Aaron’s black skin stands out because he is viewed as inferior due to his skin color. Viewers must focus on the fact that he is darker skinned and in order to do this, Taymor must bring the focus to his skin color.
Another example of when we see the color black used is when young Lucius kills the fly at the dinner scene (1:32:00). He is initially r...


... middle of paper ...


...ymbolic things happening: foreshadowing, major change in life, or trickery.
Taymor’s use of color throughout this film works to develop Shakespeare’s characters and symbolizes the most important aspects of the play. Whether it be the inferiority of a character, purity, or vengeance, each color is representative of something major. Although Taymor’s film is simply her interpretation of the characters and the story, the colors that she uses in her adaptation allow the viewers to see a more clear image of the mood, tone, and characterization of the play. While Shakespeare does use some color in his play, Taymor takes the context of the writing and makes a more visual image of what is being said in order to further develop Shakespeare’s characters.


Works Cited

Titus. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1999. Film.

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