sabato 19 giugno 2010

Titus Andronicus, edizione di Jonathan Bate

Appunti sul dramma di “Titus Andronicus” di William Shakespeare, edizione di Jonathan Bate, the Arden Shakespeare

Titus Andronicus was hugely successful in its own time but it has been reviled by critics and revived infrequently.
Several eighteenth-century editors denied (negarono) that Shakespeare wrote the “Titus Andornicus”; there has been a persistent argument that he was merely touching up someone else’s play or that it was a patched-together collaborative effort; the discovery of an eighteenth-century chapbook narrating the story allowed much of the violence do be palmed off (affibbiato) on Shakespeare’s “source”.
Jonathan Bate believe that Titus is an important play and a living one, performed for the first time as a showpiece in January 1594.

Space and structure
The use of opposite doors dramatizes the brothers’opposition in terms of the stage space.
When Titus “enter” in the story, his first task is to give a proper burial to his sons who have died in combat, “They open the tomb” and the nether world is invoked for the first time. Once buried, the dead sons would be free to cross the Styx into the underworld. The city prided itself on not being barbaric: the world civilized comes from civilis, which means “of citizens, of the city” and Rome was the city.
Into Roman acts there is, as Tamora says, a “cruel, irreligious piety”.
Titus’sons enter with their swords bloody from the sacrifice of Alarbus, their dead brothers are laid to rest and then their sister comes on. Her entrance is perfectly timed to draw her into the spiral of retribution. It also serves to link the domestic political plot with the opposition between Titus and Tamora. The opposite doors come into play again when Saturninus and the Goths take off for the upper stage just as the Andronicus boys help Bassianus bear Lavinia away through the other door.
Hunting for sport is “civilized” society’s way of getting back in touch with the wild.
The forest is a place where desire can be acted out: Tamora comes to make love to Aaron, Chiron and Demetrius rape Lavinia.
The “mouth” of the pit (fossa) becomes crucial when we realize that Lavinia is not only being raped but also having her tongue cut out; throughout the play, the action turns on mouths that speak, mouths that abuse and are abused, mouths that devour (divorano).
The first reaction to the rape is a series of jokes: Chiron and Demetrius become a sick comedy team, offering feed line and punch line.
Titus’ first words to his mutilate daughter are “what accursed hand/hath made thee handless in thy father’s sight?”
Titus certainly gets the last laugh against his enemies. There is a kind of comic satisfaction in the gagging of Chiron and Demetrius and the slitting of their throats: it answers exactly to their gagging of lavinia and cutting of her tongue.

Titus and Coriolanus:
As Coriolanus, Titus’ son, the successful Roman warrior, is sent into exile, where he joins up with his former enemies and then marches with them against the city which has cast him out.
Titus Andronicus differs from Coriolanus in that there is no turning back outside the city gates.
Andronicus refused the crown at the beginning of the play an Andronicus takes it at the end.
The troubles of the Andronici began with the question of proper burial rites and the sacrifice of Alarbus; the play ends with the living burial of Aaron and the refusal of proper burial rites for Tamora.

The themes
The most urgent question facing England in 1590s was the succession to the unmarried and childless Elizabeth, and in particular the preservation of the Protestant nation against the possibility of another counter-Reformation.
The emperor Saturninus is very worried about the popular will slipping away from him. That suggests that Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy may be shot through with an unexpected vein of republicanism.
The gods are frequently invoked but never reply.
The audience that shares the protagonist’s troubled inquiries as to whether they should take vengeance into their own hands or leave it to God is in a position to reflect upon the insufficiencies and inequalities of the law.
In Shakespeare, important people have their revenge: Hamlet is a prince, Titus is a champion.
The play vividly dramatizes Justice’s absence when Titus shoots arrows into the air to try to bring Astraea down.
Passionating grief
Titus resorts (fa ricorso a) to laughter, ritual or self-conscious performance when his ability to express emotion in language is stretched to breaking point.
Renaissance man is rhetorical man, whose repertoire of formal linguistic structures and accompanying physical gestures is a way of ordering the chaos of experience.
When language no longer works for Titus, he takes to literalizing metaphor: instead of crying to the elements and the gods, he writes his message down on arrows and shoots them in the air; instead of talking about “consuming sorrow”, he makes Tamora consume her own children.

Chapbook: (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Chapbook is a generic term to cover a particular genre of pocket-sized booklet, popular from the sixteenth through to the later part of the nineteenth century. No exact definition can be applied.

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