Come Down and Welcome Me to This World's Light: Titus Andronicus and the Canons of Contemporary Violence - Essay

William Shakespeare

Come Down and Welcome Me to This World's Light: Titus Andronicus and the Canons of Contemporary Violence

(Shakespearean Criticism)

"Come Down and Welcome Me to This World's Light": Titus Andronicus and the Canons of Contemporary Violence

Philip C. Kolin, University of Southern Mississippi

Early criticism of Titus Andronicus tried to come to terms with the violence in the play by confining its horror to Elizabethan England. The bloody grotesqueries in Titus were seen as characteristic of Shakespeare's age. In the process, both the times and the mores were indicted; Shakespeare and his Elizabethan audience were tainted. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for example, pronounced that Titus was "obviously intended to excite vulgar audiences by its scenes of blood and horror."1 In the early 1850s, Georg Gottfried Gervinus similarly attacked Titus and accused Shakespeare of pandering to the Elizabethan demand for blood and guts: "If it be asked, how it were possible that Shakespeare with his finer nature could even have chosen such a play even for the sake of love of opportunity … we must not forget that the young poet must always in his taste do homage to the multitude, and that … he would be stimulated to speculation upon their applause, rather than by the commands and laws of an ideal."2 A few years later, John Addington Symonds added more coals to the fires over which Titus was roasted: "Playwrights used every conceivable means to stir the passions and excite the feeling of their audience. They glutted them with horrors."3 The editor of the original (1904) Arden edition of Titus, H. Bellyse Baildon, credited Shakespeare for writing Titus and claimed that he was "afraid of mulcting his audience of the sensationalism they loved."4

Some sophisticated readers and playgoers of the twentieth century continue to deprive Titus of praise. J. Dover Wilson characterized Titus as a foolish parody—the revenge play heaping revenge upon itself. Titus was "a huge joke which, we may guess, Shakespeare enjoyed twice over, once in the penning of it, and again in performance, while he watched his dear groundlings, and most of those in the more expensive parts of the theatre also, gaping ever wider to swallow more as he tossed them bigger and bigger gobbets of sob-stuff and raw beef-steak."5 Similarly, for the novelist Evelyn Waugh, the "text seemed to hold no potentiality save burlesque."6 Dan Sullivan began his review of a 1967 production noting that "this gory and ungrateful play … is so crudely pitched at the lowest element in the Elizabethan audience—what might be called the bear-baiting crowd—that some scholars refuse to believe that Shakespeare actually wrote it, and most wish that he hadn't."7

Coleridge's response, or Waugh's, or Sullivan's is culturally myopic. Claiming that Titus's violence is crude and unapplicable to audiences today is misleading and unfair; it depoliticizes any attempt on the part of critic or director to interpret Shakespeare in light of contemporary anxieties and instabilities. The Elizabethan-myopic school of Titus criticism by branding the play as sixteenth-century Grand Guignol missed the mark no less than do the suave debunkers who deplore Titus as artistically naive or parodic. Recent criticism and production history have attempted to explain and de-marginalize the violence in Titus by broadening its focus beyond Elizabethan sensationalism. My goal in this essay is twofold: (1) to show how Titus accurately reflects contemporary society's most pressing political and personal horrors and, in the process, (2) to survey ways in which directors have justifiably incorporated contemporary signifiers into the Titus script. I hope to challenge "received Shakespeare," what Ron Daniels calls the "thatched cottage Shakespeare" where actors "wear tights and doubtlets and flowing hair, and … the idea that this is a classical work and this is the [only] way it should be done. …"8

In lamenting the ravages of violence, the Age of Elizabeth may not have been as far away from our own as earlier critics believed. Peter Brook, who in 1955 directed a landmark Titus, maintained that "this obscure work of Shakespeare touched audiences directly because we had tapped in it a ritual of bloodshed which was recognized as true"; Brook later added, "Everything in Titus is linked to a dark flowing current out of which surge the horrors, rhythmically and logically related—if one searches in this way one can find the expression of a powerful and eventually beautiful barbaric ritual."9 In stylizing, though not minimizing, the violence in Titus, Brook emphasized its ritualistic, universal presence. Titus, like other Shakespearean plays, holds the mirror up to what is universally abhorrent in nature. It is a blunt steel mirror, terrifying to look into; it is George Gascoigne's steel glass with a vengeance.10 The closer we look at Titus, the greater capacity the play has to reflect the terror embedded in contemporary society.

A catalogue of the horrors in Titus is as frighteningly contemporary as it is unmistakenly Senecan. As Brian Cox, who played Titus in the 1987 Stratford-upon-Avon production, rightfully claimed: "This is the most modern of plays."11 Alan C. Dessen has asked some telling questions about Titus's contemporaneity and how audiences should respond:

For the playgoer in 1986, this tragedy poses a series of provocative questions. What happens to a society that condones such acts of violence (Tamora calls the public sacrifice of her son "cruel, irreligious piety")? When public justice fails, is private revenge acceptable or is it a form of madness? Can the parts of the body politic indeed be put back together after so many violent terrorist actions, serial murders, and vigilante responses? Is this tragedy indeed an embarrassment to Shakespeare worshippers or does it convey something about us and our world we would prefer not to face? After almost four hundred years, are we finally ready for Titus Andronicus?12

Dessen's last question needs to be answered in the affirmative. We are not only ready for Titus but we have internalized and projected its messages. Murder and Rape have come to visit and, alarmingly, reside in the contemporary world.

In fact, the atrocities acted out in Titus correspond to many of horrors that shock America today. Our society, like Titus's, recoils from mass murders. The crimes of the Manson family, Richard Speck's slaughter of student nurses in Chicago, and the multiple assassinations of Son of Sam in New York in the 1960s and early 1970s were unrelentingly gory. The 1980s and 1990s also witnessed brutal crimes spilling across newspapers and TV screens. Two of the most ghoulish criminals of the last few years have been Jeffrey Dahmer of Milwaukee and John Wayne Gacy of Chicago. Dahmer puts Cook Titus's deeds into a twentieth-century context. He slew his victims, then cut them up, and put their body parts in bags and stored them away in his freezer. Gacy sexually abused, tortured, and slowly murdered his victims before interring them beneath the floorboards of his house, almost a parodic travesty of the internment of the Andronici brothers. In the early 1990s, Danny Rolling terrorized Gainesville, Florida much as Tamora's sons did to Rome. Rolling killed his victims and then decapitated some of them. A syndicated story from early February 1994 reported on yet another Titus-like ghastly murder case:

BEAUMONT, Texas—A computer programmer allegedly stabbed his mother more than 100 times and decapitated her, then sat calmly on the living room sofa until police arrived.

The O. J. Simpson murder trial, and all the gore and horror surrounding it, occupied America a great deal in 1994 and 1995. And the atrocities go on.

Yet these heinous acts of individual madmen are, from recent history's perspective, part of a larger global violence in the mid to late twentieth century. Again, Titus can reflect the widespread explosion of political violence of our age. "Titus is a political play, and Shakespeare is the most political of all dramatists," so correctly asserted Hereward T. Price in 1943.13 Through its fictional representations, Titus offers a deeply political script. I strenuously take issue with Ann Thompson who judges Titus as more of a family tragedy than a political one.14

Ample justification for twentieth-century parallels with Titus is found in a variety of productions. Comments from critics attuned to Titus's strong political warnings in these productions prove instructive. In 1923, Herbert Farjeon likened the play's savageries to the crimes of World War I: "the horribilism has got the old Blue Books on War atrocities beaten hollow."15 Calling to mind a more recent political agony, William Johnson in his 1987 review of a Santa Cruz production observed: "the cycle of revenge which drives Titus throughout is still capable of dictating human behavior—witness the alternating savageries between the United States and Iran."16Titus holds our conscience hostage still. For the Chinese director Qiping Xu, Titus is reminiscent of the horrors from China's cultural revolution.17 Easily finding contemporary political parallels in Titus, Brian Cox persuasively saw reflected in Shakespeare's play the troubles emanating from "the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the breakdown of social units, … the sectarian violence of Northern Ireland.…" Further extending the analogues in Titus to the tragedies in Northern Ireland, Cox locates in the ritualistic slaughter of Titus's and Tamora's sons reminiscences of the war "with Irish Catholic versus Irish Protestant … [where] perhaps—one man's civilized behavior becomes another man's barbarity."18

A recent production of Titus—set in the Rustaveli Theater in Tbilisi in the former Soviet republic of Georgia—was staged within a charged political context. According to an article in Izvestia, Titus played in a "crippled cultural sector that will require much time and energy. The disease has spread too far. Not long ago in Tbilisi supporters of Gamsakhurdia banned books of writers they found objectionable. This is a new low on the gauge measuring the decline of the human spirit."19 In such a context of political repression, Titus was an appropriate choice for the Rustaveli Theater.

One twentieth-century horror that several directors have visualized through Shakespearean plays, including Titus, is the scourge of fascism. Margaret Webster's memorable production of Richard III in 1953 found that Shakespeare's script easily accommodated several fascist/Nazi myths. She opened her Richard III with a swastika and hammer and sickle and swelled the crowd scenes with storm troopers.20 Fascist imagery also helped to represent Ian McKellen's much-respected Richard III at the Royal Theatre in 1992.21 Many directors of Titus see the script justifying the imagery and chants evoking the Age of Mussolini and Hitler. Locating Brook's Titus within the political shadows of fascism, Brian Cox pointed out: "In our century the context for this play has never been more powerful. When Peter Brook produced it in 1955 the shadow of totalitarianism was very much upon us: Stalinism and the purges of the thirties, Hitler's Germany and the subsequent revelations of the Nuremberg trials."22

In the 1966-1967 production of Titus at Baltimore's Center Stage, director Douglas Seale dressed his actors in fascist uniforms—Anthony Brafa's Saturninus was a dead-ringer for Mussolini and Robert Gerringer's Titus was clad in Hitler brown. Wanting his audience to link the atrocities in Titus with the horrors of World War II, Seale pointed out marked similarities between Shakespearean fictions and contemporary reality:

I have chosen to set the play in the mid 1940s in the hope that you will be reminded of the horrors of the concentration camps, the bombing of Hiroshima and the mass executions of Nuremberg and so will be less inclined to dismiss Titus Andronicus as a blood bath of horror which might be acceptable to those coarse Elizabethans but hardly to sophisticated, civilized, educated humanitarians like us.23

Seale demonstrated how Shakespeare's art foreshadowed/mirrored twentieth-century reality.

Looking at Titus's German stage history, Horst Zander also documents a host of productions that readily saw elements of fascism reflected in the play. For Zander, these productions were not actually interested in a particular historical period (the 1930s, the 1940s) as much as wanting to demonstrate that fascist attitudes are universal, an everlasting phenomenon. Zander points out that Hans Hollmann's Titus, done at Basel in 1969, was based upon the belief that fascist attitudes were as prevalent in ancient Rome as in modern Europe. Similarly, Rudolph Seitz's Titus, performed at Esslinger in 1987, used fascist costumes to emphasize similarities between classical Rome and Hitler's Berlin.24

Perhaps the most significant justification of fascist ideologies in Titus was Peter Stein's production in 1989-1990. First done in Germany, Stein's Titus traveled to the Stabile de Genova where it became Tito Andronico. Stein saw many fascisti reminders into the play. Michael Billington remarked that in Stein's production Titus was "unequivocally a fascist general."25 However, according to Dominique Goy-Blanquet, Stein broadened the associations of the characters with the mafia or the fascists. "The critics who read fascism in Lucius's elevation to the title of 'benigno duce di Roma' were too simple-minded: the references to modern Italy were not restricted to the 1930s nor to one particular set of politicians, but to more permanent traits like the connections of family and state affairs in a world where dynasties mean business."26 Though denying particular references to fascism, Goy-Blanquet nonetheless proves my point that Titus has irrefutable application for contemporary directors and audiences.

While parallels between events in Titus and specific political movements like fascism shows the relevance of Titus today, it is not the only way Titus speaks to late twentieth-century audiences. Above everything else, Titus is most aesthetically relevant in representating urban violence. The play has a strong urban feel; the sense of the city permeates the Titus language, the characters' behavior, and even the mise-en-scène. Titus overflows with urban associations and structures that contemporary directors have translated visually for audiences. Titus begins with references to the Senate house, "the passage to the Capitol,"27 and the Andronici tomb, all at the center of the city. With its references to the loci of various gods, act 4 arguably might present urban signs, such as those used to mark the houses in The Comedy of Errors. Urban danger extends even into the surrounding "ruthless, gloomy woods" (4.1.53), the location of act two. The woods themselves are co-opted into the urban violence in Titus; the city's law of the jungle infects the pastoral. The woods in Titus like New York City's Central Park offer no sylvan enclave. Recognizing the corruption in city life in Titus, Stein gave his audiences a "glimpse [of] the rusting corrugated iron of an urban wasteland."28

Titus's urban setting—and the violence it spawns—provides an appropriate landscape for the cultural tensions and anxieties of our society. Much has been written about Titus's Rome. Clearly it is not the glorious Rome of Caesar Augustus, the city closely tied to law, justice, order, and military might; it is the decaying Rome of the fourth century, with the barbaric Goths pouring in at the gates. Just before slaying one of Tamora's sons, Titus advises him, "Look round about the wicked streets of Rome" (5.2.98). Aaron and Tamora, with her sons, invade Rome, and the city becomes less a wilderness of tigers than an urban jungle for all revenging predators to feed in. John P. Cutts goes so far as to say that Titus is one of the tigers.29 But what is scary about Titus is that now that the Goths have come to town, they invade a city that, under Saturninus, is hospitable to their violence. The "warlike Goths" and the "noble Romans" become one force. Goths and Romans try to outdo each other in the urban violence that also afflicts our cities—gang rumbles; rapes; cries of grief-struck parents; extortions and executions; the trampling of victims' rights; a corrupt judicial system and an equally corrupt police force.

In some productions, Tamora's sons are represented as gang members dressed in motorcycle jackets and boots. They are called "cubs," "bear whelps," and a "pair of hellhounds" to situate them in gangs of predators. Derek Cohen even styles them with a reference to a leading gang of our time—they are in a "Hell's Angel's club."30 Unquestionably, Chiron and Demetrius have a gang-like mentality and code. Ironically, Tamora asks Titus at the start of the play: "But must my sons be slaughtered in the streets?" (1.1.115), a question haunting parents in New York, Detroit, Miami, and Los Angeles. Her remark is prophetic—her sons as well as those of Rome will be slaughtered in Rome's streets, gang-land fashion.

The hacking and hewing of Alarbus in act 1 and the decapitations of the Andronici brothers in act 3 also evoke contemporary gang violence. Act 2 even presents a rumble as Bassianus and Lavinia and the Andronici boys, Quintus and Martius, are pitted against Goth mother, her two sons, and her paramour Aaron. Like the present-day gangs who terrorize their rivals, warfare in Titus is often based on a battle for turf or territory—Romans vs. Goths (or Hezbollah Palestinians vs. Israelis)—for control of a city. The streets of Titus's Rome are no different from the contemporary turfs of East Los Angeles, Miami, or Harlem where rival gangs spill each other's blood. Worried about order, succession, and assassinations, Elizabethan England was threatened by civil strife just as the world's hot spots are today.

Titus symbolizes another problem in urban life, corruption in city hall and in the courts of justice. "There's as little justice at land" (4.3.9) as there is at sea. The city government of Rome has sold out to the gangland terrorists, the Gothic thugs and their Roman collaborators. Tamora's sons go free for atrocities while Titus's offspring are executed for innocence and Titus loses all his power and control. Under the new Emperor Saturninus, the hoods earn impunity at the victimized men's expense. As Gail Kern Paster observes, Rome's "political processes reveal a predatory savagery that seeks out and destroys the hero at the moment when he most completely embodies the ethos of the city."31 Saturninus and his regime typify Boss-ism, city corruption through dictatorship and cronyism. Ironically, the cover of Mike Royko's sensational portrait of Chicago mayor, Richard J. Daley, Boss, (1971), presented "His Honor" dressed like a Roman tribune.

Nowhere does Titus provide a more scathing indictment of institutionalized crime than in act 3, scene 1. Justice is not blind in Titus—it sees only one side of a quarrel—but it is now dumb. Silence in Titus is synonymous with corruption at the highest levels. The tribunes to whom Titus justly appeals for his sons' life do not respond; they do not even recognize him: "no tribune hears you speak" (3.1.22), bemoans Lucius to his father. Equivalent to city commissioners, Roman tribunes accompany Roman lawmakers who also turn a deaf ear to Titus's pleas: "Enter the Judges and Senators (and Tribunes) with Titus's two sons bound, passing over on the stage to the place of execution, and Titus going before pleading" (3.1).

In a corrupt city government, honest leaders are mocked or, worse yet, wiped out. Aaron boasts of his treatment of the good tribune Marcus: "I brave[d] the tribune in his brother's hearing" (4.2.36). Pitifully, Titus appeals to the authorities but his pleas backfire, and for his attempts Tamora's sons gloat that it is "good to see so great a lord / Basely insinuate and send us gifts" (4.2.37-40). The city expels anyone who would plead justice's cause too loudly. Accordingly, Lucius is banished; the gates of the city have been shut on him (5.3.104). The final victory of the gangs seems to go to "the sons of Rome" led by Lucius, though some critics have labeled Lucius's relatinship with the Goths an unholy alliance.32

True to hero mythology, as operative today as when Titus was first performed, Lucius can return as the honest cop—the Eliot Ness come to wipe out the Al Capones/Saturnines of the city.33 Lucius is the G-man (the man sent in answer to Titus's prayers for justice in act 4). The last four lines of the play, found only in the First Quarto, leave contemporary audiences with a clear sense that Lucius is the victorious government (FBI) agent. He returns "To order well the state." Again, as in so many films about urban crime, the cop who succeeds must leave the corrupt city to gather outside additional forces for further strength. Moreover, Lucius is true to the archetype, described by Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces, of the hero wandering in the wilderness in preparation for the great victory. It is as old as the Buddha story and as recent as Eliot Ness going to Canada before returning to a decisive victory in Chicago in David Mamet's screenplay The Untouchables. Appropriately, Lucius must leave Rome in order to return a hero.

Titus not only depicts the tyranny inflicted upon the state, but the play is particularly prophetic about the dangers engulfing women and children in our society. Women—Lavinia, the nurse, the mid-wife, and even Rome as a feminine presence—suffer heinously from the violence unleashed in Titus. In a very contemporary sense, Lavinia's rape, urged on and plotted by the Gothic mother Tamora, is the result of, and staged as if it were, gang warfare. The deed recalls a familiar scene in many gang-soaked movies—the sexual assault on a pristine or innocent woman from the rival gang or other vulnerable group the gang wants to prey upon. One thinks of the assault on Anita in West Side Story or the attempted rape of the new school teacher, Miss Hammond, by a student gang member in Black-board Jungle, or the sexual assault of Ally Sheedy's character in Bad Boys. Such treatment of women is tragically standard in war reports. Atrocities ravaged the women of the Bosnian Muslims, and Kuwaiti women were allegedly violated by Iraqis.

Lavinia's fate mirrors some of the worst crimes against women. Her rape symbolizes the attempted disenfranchisement of women as well as the empowerment of male violence. Consequently, Lavinia's horror is similar to that many contemporary women face when they seek to bring rapists to trial and punishment. In classical Rome, Lavinia might have had no rights against her assailants. Yet in many ways Lavinia is not simply the male-dominated Lucrece or Ophelia some critics have made her out to be. She defies the masculine code which would have her suffer in silence and retreat into the world of guilt or fear of reprisal. Flying in the face of a corrupt society that wants her to forget about, or worse yet blame her for, the rape, Lavinia valiantly assists in the identification, capture, and punishment of her assailants.

Children in Titus, as in our world, are also endangered—Lavinia, Alarbus, Quintus, Martius, Mutius, and Aaron's black baby. Young Lucius in particular witnesses the dismemberment and mutilation of his family, the slaughter of his aunt, and the murder of his grandfather. The young Lucius has many peers in America, and around the world. In November 1994 all America was horrified by Susan Smith's murder of her two young sons in Union, South Carolina. Children of Beirut, Sarajevo, Mogadishu, Belfast, and Johannesburg daily witness the atrocities of gang warfare, the wholesale slaughter of family members, the destruction of a way of life. The lessons of world politics are often written in blood spilled by children. Titus could not be more contemporary in depicting this message.

Aaron's black infant is the victim of an especially pernicious attack against children. The child born to Tamora and Aaron has been incorporated into the mandates for revenge of both the law-abiding Romans and the Goths. The "tadpole," like its progenitors, merits death, or so proclaims every character in Titus, save Aaron. Certainly, the baby is a dangerous embarrassment to its adulterous mother, eager to keep her sexual transgressions secret. In being implicated in his mother's crime, the child personifies a variety of dangers to children, and on several levels, too, as Cohen explains:

… no crime that Tamora commits in the play causes such universal outrage as her crime of being seen to have betrayed her husband … Like a woman, the child cannot survive without a protector. Like a woman it is a necessary nuisance. In this baby are concentrated the various cultural and social stigmas which are placed on the powerless. As a black child, in particular, it stands as a reminder of this masculine society's propensity to stratify all of its elements according to their capacity to command and enforce equality.34

Tamora becomes the model for the new, unchaste Roman matron. She is not as kindly to her first Roman-born child (the black baby) as was the wolf Lupus who suckled the twins Romulus and Remus, the former being the founder of the eternal city.

What the child is and will do are conditioned by cultural anxieties grafted onto the babe both by Elizabethans and contemporary Americans. The black child has been co-opted into the aporia of fear in the play. In 1942 William T. Hastings speaking of good guys and bad in Titus presented "a world of black and white."35 Though not focusing directly on racial issues, Hastings nonetheless summarized one kind of prejudice Titus represents. Although concerned with the dissolution of distinction of gender and race in Titus, Dorothea Kehler still admits that "Like the white Christian spectators watching these later plays [Merchant, Othello], Titus's audience, then and now, may be drawn to side with their own kind, their partnership elicited not by the opposition of Roman and Goth per se but by the Gothic party's inclusion of an unchaste woman and the black man she empowers."36

When seen as a victim of prejudice against race and miscegenation, Aaron's baby is invested with enormous contemporary cultural and political significance. The child is denied its rights, including protection from the white power-based parent who is in a position to insure its welfare. Even more alarming, the treatment of the baby in Titus foreshadows, by some four hundred years, the fate of unfortunate American infants born to drug mothers who, like the suspicion-crazed Tamora, see their children as a burden or, even worse, a palpable indictment of their own offense. Abortion is sometimes the most convenient route these mothers take to escape responsibility. But if these drug babies come to term, their mothers frequently abandon them to a welfare system that may want to protect them but is under a stormy siege of protests about diminishing resources. Like the authors of the Elizabethan poor laws, some contemporary reformists want to distinguish between the "deserving" and "undeserving" wards of the state.37 In the straight, white world, a black child born with a drug addiction can be as endangered as Aaron and Tamora's offspring. The contemporary message that Titus sends is that a drug-addicted child, or one with AIDS, is often segregated and denied the protection of family. The baby crystalizes the fate of alienated minorities whether because of race, ethnicity, or disease.38

In his review of the Old Vic production of Titus in 1923, Herbert Farjeon identified one of the key features of the play that, I believe, makes it so appropriate for twentieth-century audiences. Stressing that he did not "like being disgusted in the theatre," Farjeon conceded: "but this is a disgusting play, and if it does not disgust, it does not achieve its end."39 Because of its terrifying brutality and senseless crimes against the natural order, Titus Andronicus has provided an accommodating script for contemporary directors to share with their audiences. Judging from the number of successful attempts to translate Titus's disgusting horrors into twentieth-century signifiers, directors have been immensely perceptive readers of Shakespeare. Whether in its condemnation of a fascist-like world order or its laments over urban violence, Titus is indeed a play for our age.


1 T. M. Raysor, ed. Coleridge's Shakespearean Criticism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1930): II, 31.

2"Titus Andronicus and Pericles." Shakespearean Commentaries. Trans. F.E. Bunnett (Rpt. New York: AMS Press, 1971): 102.

3"Titus Andronicus and the Tragedy of Blood." Studies in Elizabethan Drama (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1919): 62.

4 H. Bellyse Baildon. "Introduction." The Works of Shakespeare: The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus (London: Methuen, 1904): xxv.

5 "Introduction." Titus Andronicus (Cambridge: CUP, 1948): lxv.

6"Titus with a Grain of Salt." The Spectator, Sept. 2, 1955: 300.

7 "Papp's Troupe Offers Titus Andronicus." New York Times, Aug. 10, 1967, 43: 2.

8 Quoted in Silvana Tropea, "Ron Daniels Finds the Space Inside Shakespeare." American Theatre, April 1994: 40.

9The Empty Space. New York: 1969. 86.

10 "The Steel Glass." The Complete Works of George Gascoigne. Ed. J. W. Cunliffe (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1907-1910).

11"Titus Andronicus." Players of Shakespeare 3. Ed. Russell Jackson and Robert Smallwood (New York: Cambridge UP, 1993): 176.

12 "Why Titus Andronicus?" Oregon Shakespeare Festival Souvenir Program. Ashland: Summer/Fall 1986. 11.

13 "The Authorship of Titus Andronicus." JEGP 42 (1943): 57.

14 "Philomel in Titus Andronicus and Cymbeline." Shakespeare Survey 31 (1978): 23-32.

15"Titus Andronicus." Saturday Review [London], Oct. 1923.

16"Titus Andronicus." Times Tribune [Santa Cruz, CA], Aug. 14, 1988: 7.

17 "Directing Titus Andronicus in China [1986]." Titus Andronicus: Critical Essays. Ed. Philip C. Kolin (New York: Garland, 1995).

18 Cox, 176.

19 "Georgia After Gamakhandia." Izvestia, April 17, 1992: 3.

20 Samuel Leiter. Shakespeare Around the Globe (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1986).

21 See Marjorie Oberlander's excellent review of Titus Andronicus in Shakespeare Bulletin 11 (Winter 1993): 10.

22 Cox, 176.

23 Program, Titus Andronicus, Baltimore Center Stage, 1966.

24"Titus Andronicus in Germany." Titus Andronicus: Critical Essays. Ed. Philip C. Kolin (New York: Garland, 1995).

25 "Connoisseur of Cruelty." Manchester Guardian Weekly, Dec. 10, 1989: 27.

26"Titus resartus: Warner, Stein, and Mesguich Have a Cut at Titus." Foreign Shakespeare: Contemporary Performance. Ed. Dennis Kennedy (New York: Cambridge UP, 1993): 46.

27 All citations to Titus Andronicus come from The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Ed. David M. Bevington (New York: HarperCollins, 1992).

28 Goy-Blanquet, 47.

29 "Shadow and Substance: Structural Unity in Titus Andronicus." Comparative Drama 2 (1968): 74.

30Shakespeare's Culture of Violence (London: St. Martin's, 1993): 89.

31The Idea of the City in the Age of Shakespeare (Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 1985): 58-59.

32 The following critics, among others, have serious reservations about Lucius, his motives and his effectiveness: Larry S. Champion, Shakespeare's Tragic Perspective. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1976; Henry Jacobs, "The Banquet of Blood and the Masque of Death: Social Ritual and Ideology in English Revenge Tragedy," Renaissance Papers 1985 (1985): 39-50; Dorothea Kehler, "Titus Andronicus: From Limbo to Bliss." Shakespeare Jahrbuch 128 (1992): 125-31; and David Willbern, "Rape and Revenge in Titus Andronicus," English Literary Renaissance 8 (1978), 159-82.

33 Clifford Chalmers Huffman, "Titus Andronicus: Metamorphosis and Renewal," Modern Language Review 67 (1972): 730-41, also discusses Lucius's return, relating it to a larger Christian message Huffman finds in Titus.

34 Cohen, 90.

35 "The Hardboiled Shakespeare." Shakespeare Association Bulletin 17 (1942): 114-25.

36 Kehler, "From Limbo," 126.

37 "The Case for Comparison." University of Chicago Alumni Magazine, April 1994: 37.

38 As with every other character in Titus Andronicus, Aaron's baby has elicited a host of contradictory interpretations. Two critics who speak most harshly about the baby as a sign of continuing evil in the play are Douglas F. Green, "Interpreting 'her martyr'd signs': Gender and Tragedy in Titus Andronicus," Shakespeare Quarterly 40 (1989): 317-26, and Douglas H. Parker, "Shakespeare's Use of Comic Conventions in Titus Andronicus," University of Toronto Quarterly 56 (1987): 486-97. In an earlier essay ("Performing Texts in Titus Andronicus," Shakespeare Bulletin 7 [1989]: 5-8), I also cast the child in a negative light, indicating that it was "a child-text" of Aaron's revenge and "a sign of Aaron's lustful conquest of Tamora and the power of his lust in action in ravaged Rome" (7). I now modify my views of the baby; it is important to differentiate Aaron's use of the baby from the infant's own helplessness and total lack of complicity in Aaron and Tamora's designs. It is in such a context that I think the child can, like contemporary drug babies, elicit our sympathy and recruit our energy for Tamora's and Aaron's disclosure.

39 Farjeon, "Titus Andronicus."

Source: "'Come Down and Welcome Me to This World's Light': Titus Andronicus and the Canons of Contemporary Violence," in Titus Andronicus: Critical Essays, edited by Philip C. Kolin, Garland Publishing Inc., pp. 305-16.