Titus Andronicus

Rape Revenge Fantasies: The Roundup

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Check out all of the posts for Rape Revenge Fantasies Theme Week here.

What Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Rape Culture

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In ‘Titus Andronicus,’ Lavinia is brutally raped and disfigured (including having her tongue cut out so she couldn’t speak). This nod to Philomela in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ echoes the themes of the brutality of rape and the need for revenge. The women needed to name their rapists and share their stories (Lavinia writes in the sand; Philomela weaves a tapestry that tells her story). The women have as much power as they can in the confines of their society, and we the audience are meant to want justice and revenge.

The Fractured Rape/Revenge Fantasies of Julie Taymor’s ‘Titus’

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Julie Taymor’s contemporary approach to creating a film of ‘Titus Andronicus,’ then, has to address a variety of factors: 1) she has set up for herself the challenge of filming a Shakespeare play that has been called both an “early masterpiece” and an “Elizabethan pot-boiler”; 2) she’s a female director approaching a play that has, at its center, a ritual killing, a rape, and revenge cannibalism; and 3) she’s creating this piece of art during a historical moment during which entertainment media is rife with violence and there much alleged desensitization, as well as within a culture full of complex and problematic attitudes about rape.

What Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Rape Culture

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When Shakespeare wrote Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece in the late 1500s, women were quite literally the property of men (their fathers, then their husbands). The rape culture that plagues us in 2013 was essentially the same, although laws of coverture have dissolved and women are no longer legally property.

And Shakespeare understood the horror of rape. Shakespeare–more than 400 years ago–seemed to understand that patriarchy hurts women. Patriarchy kills women.

Patriarchy is rape culture.

Classic Literature Film Adaptations Week: Titus the Tight-Ass: Julie Taymor’s Depictions of the Virgin and Whore

Written by Amanda Rodriguez Trigger warning: frank discussion of rape & PTSD Julie Taymor’s Titus (based on Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus) is a highly stylized production, involving elaborate costumes, body markings, choreography, era prop mash-ups, and extravagant violence. I tip my hat to Taymor for the scope and splendor of her vision, and I also applaud […]