Illustrate Shakespeare's Understanding Of Stagecraft In Titus Andronicus Act I

Essay by bentoss April 2002

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In Shakespeare'sTitus Andronicus, his understanding of stagecraft is not excellent, but very good. The Blood Revenge Tragedy (in the expositional Act I) is set in a violent, male, military society. This, in comparison to the pastoral 'As You Like It' or 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is a strong and horrific setting, one of revenge and injustice. At the beginning of the play, there is a conflict between Saturninus and Bassianus for the crown of Rome, with their armies. The armies are holding flags and drums to represent their loyalty to their leaders. The conflict is shown by both armies entering from opposing sides of the main stage and meeting in the middle, From the text we find that Saturninus and Bassianus are brothers fighting for the throne. Saturninus declares that he is the first born, whereas Bassianus declares that he is morally superior. Aloft, Marcus holds up the crown as a symbol of the immense power.

However, he declares that Titus Andronicus Pias is to be invited to be emperor. Marcus' main reasons for this decision include nobleness, bravery and incredible leadership in the ten years of war (in which twenty of his twenty-five sons have perished). This is the first description of Titus and is very flattering. Saturninus and Bassianus have a sudden change of heart, which shows primitive writing techniques. Bassianus says that he will marry Titus' daughter and his soldiers leave; showing the conflict is over.

Drums sound; these drums are slower than the previous flourish, thus denoting a more solemn scene. This is strengthened by the coffin that is brought on, draped in black. Shakespeare uses a prop to tell the story. Because four of Titus' sons follow the coffin, we assume that it is another of his sons in it. Also, Shakespeare needs...