Essay on The Real Hero of Titus Andronicus

Essay on The Real Hero of Titus Andronicus

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The Real Hero of Titus Andronicus


I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble -Augustus Caesar (63 BC - 14 AD)

In his essay, Titus Andronicus and the Mythos of Shakespeare's Rome, Robert Miola uncovers and explores the myths Shakespeare uses as bedrock for the background and plot of his first Roman tragedy, Titus Andronicus. Most notably, Miola discusses two Ovidian myths, The Rape of Philomela and The World's Four Ages. The Rape provides Shakespeare with his basic characters and the events involving Lavinia, his Philomela, while Ovid's fourth age of iron describes Shakespeare's physical Rome, "a quintessentially iron city," writes Miola, "a military establishment protected by walls and filled with sword-carrying soldiers" (Mythos 91). The ancient Roman myth of the God Saturn, who devoured his children to remain in power himself, must have been another story Shakespeare used to develop his Roman characters in Titus, Miola says. For obvious proof, he points to the name of the emperor, Saturninus, and the final gruesome banquet during which this emperor literally eats his stepsons. Miola also cites Virgil's Aeneid as one of Shakespeare's primary influences. "Shakespeare's Rome, like Virgil's," Miola parallels, "was constructed over time by the play of the poetic imagination on diverse materials" (Mythos 95). Miola's discussion of the various sources Shakespeare brought together to create the Rome he illustrates in Titus is convincing.

Thus, his final words on the subject, "The eternal city [Rome] is made from an ephemeral medley of things Roman... Any approach which seeks to fit... Shakespeare's Rome to a single... bed does violence to the heterogeneity of the city's origins and character," are ones I res...


... middle of paper ...


...are's work, thinking it was un'structured' because they couldn't see the structure, 'uninspired' because they were too uninspired to think of the plot in novel terms, and not even about Rome, probably simply because, they weren't in Rome.



Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. Ed. Eugene M. Waith. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

MacCallum, M. W. Shakespeare's Roman Plays and Their Background. London: MacMilland and Co., 1910.

Miola, Robert. Rome and the Family, in Shakespeare's Rome. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Miola, Robert. Titus Andronicus and the Mythos of Shakespeare's Rome, in Shakespeare Studies, 14 (1981), 85-98.

Reese, Jack E. The Formalization of Horror in Titus Andronicus, in Shakespeare Quarterly, 21 (1970), 77- 84.

Waith, Eugene M. ed. Titus Andronicus. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1984.

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