Self-proclaimed bibliophile, culture nut and nerdfighter. English lit. and linguistics geek. Future career in publishing.
Hadst thou in person ne'er offended me,
Even for his sake am I pitiless.
Remember, boys, I poured forth tears in vain
To save your brother from the sacrifice,
But fierce Andronicus would not relent.
2.3, ll. 161-165
Note: The reviews below were taken directly from my Goodreads account.
2.5 stars for Titus Andronicus.
Titus Andronicus is about a Roman soldier who becomes the target of revenge after he sentences the son of the queen-of-Goths-turned-Empress to death.
Normally, people will say -- and myself included -- that I have very few problems with gore and violence in fictional works (i.e. cinema, television, video games); in fact, I might relish it a bit because I'm not really a violent person and when it comes to real atrocities I can be human and feel empathy and sadness. But when I'm playing Grand Theft Auto, I kind of just want to shoot gangsters, bang prostitutes and run over pedestrians, because I would never in all my life ever do something like that if it were really me and real life. Sometimes, though, fictional works can go a little too far for me (like certain scenes from Hostel, because seriously removed eyeballs hanging from sockets. Just thinking about that image makes me want to throw up). And that's what Titus Andronicus was like for me.
Many people I know would call Shakespearean work boring because they don't think anything happens, and I will always call bullshit. Just because Shakespeare was writing plays doesn't mean things don't happen. Yeah, you read dialogue and minimal stage directions, but let's grow an imagination so that when it says He kills/stabs him you can envision it. And my imagination did that for this play because when it says people start lobbing body parts off and cutting off/out other body parts, my imagination concocted gratuitous gore, so much that it was a tad sickening. I won't even start on the cannibalism.
But points to Shakespeare for not following through with the infanticide.
O, by no means,
Honest Ventidius. You mistake my love:
I gave it freely ever, and there's none
Can truly say he gives if he receives.
If our betters play at that game, we must not dare
To imitate them: faults that are rich are fair.
Timon of Athens
1.2, ll. 9-14
2.5 stars for Timon of Athens
Timon of Athens is about Timon, a lord in debt, whose "friends" won't lend him money even though he is nice to them and gave them lavish gifts previously.
The play isn't as interesting as I thought it would be. Timon comes across as overly naive and foolish, and obviously his "friends" are huge dickbags. It's so irritating that Timon's dumb enough to keep giving people gifts when his money's practically bye-bye. That's what bothered me most about this play. I can't even sympathize with Timon because he's so careless with his wealth and doesn't ask to be paid back. What does he end up with? People who take advantage of him and rob him blind. So annoying.
I know this play is supposed to be a tragedy or part of the problem plays, and it is a little tragic with Timon's (I assume) suicide, but overall it was nowhere near as tragic as, say, Hamlet. But, yeah, not a particularly happy ending. I still managed to laugh though.
- Timon starts throwing stones at everyone. It's hilarious.
- Timon and Apemantus start insulting each other non-stop. It's hilarious.
I only wish the play didn't end where it did. I know the story is about Timon, but Alcibiades' actions are interesting enough to follow.