Monday, September 03, 2007

Technically, I'm supposed to be writing a paper about this right now.

But, you know, I thought I'd share.

One of the classes in the "they're making me take this" category this semester is my Early Shakespeare class. Not that I don't want to take a Shakespeare class, per se, but I know Shakespeare already. Not only was I a total drama geek in high school (not to mention a poetry geek during my first round of college), but I've read a lot of Shakespeare recreationally. I mean, I married an English major. So it felt kind of juvenile having to sign up for "Early Shakespeare."

But I'm glad I did, because I love me some Titus Andronicus.

Here's the plot synopsis, if you're curious.

Titus has a bad reputation amongst the Shakespeare geeks. I have no idea why. It's fantastic, both on the literary analysis level and the oh-shit-did-he-just-slit-their-throats level. There's twisting of gender norms, twisting of the notion of "barbarian foreigners," insights into the development of racism in Western culture (in that you can see how it's starting to move from a religion and culture-based concept to an ethnicity-based concept), and other yummy goodness. Plus, there's at least one horrible atrocity committed on stage in each act. (Usually in Shakespeare, these things happen off stage. Easier on the budget, I guess.)

Much more interesting, in my opinion, than the dreary Hamlet. Yes, sighing emo boys were annoying even in the 16th century.

Better still is Julie Taymor's film adaptation Titus. It's the movie The 300 wanted to be (sorry Ren). Not only does a lot of 300's "original" visual style come from Titus (check out the trailer, here), but apparently they even stole the theme music. But the casting in this movie is perfect. Anthony Hopkins, whom I usually consider a scene-chewing hack, is perfect-perfect-perfect as Titus.

Here's my second favorite scene (of Taymor's film version), where the raped and mutilated Lavinia is discovered in a swamp by her uncle Marcus.

There's a line in the play that they're leaving out here, which reads, "Alas, a crimson river of warm blood, like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind, doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips, coming and going with thy honey breath." I think they captured that pretty good, eh?

My favorite scene in the film is the one where Titus hangs Chiron and Demetrius (who are still wearing their Rapine and Murder disguise make-up) upside-down and naked, tells them he's going to bake them into a pie that their mother will then eat, slits their throats, and has Lavinia catch their blood in a bowl she holds in her stumps. It's the scene in the trailer where Hopkins says "I shall griinnd your boooones to dust!"

I love it. If somebody finds it on Youtube, tell me and I'll post it.

Oh, trigger warning for this post I guess. And maybe NSFW I suppose.

Now, to somehow turn this post into my paper...

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