This done, see that you take no longer days,
But send the midwife presently to me.
Titus Andronicus Act IV, scene ii Line 166
Let's be clear here. The 'this done' that the speaker is referring to is the burying of the body of the nurse he just killed. And the reason he wants them to send the midwife to him is so that he can kill her too. So we've picked one Totally Random line from this play (okay, there's two lines because I wanted to finish the sentence) and it is talking about not one, but two, murders. Now this is the second time that we've come across Titus Andronicus in our Totally Random lines and if you'll recall, the last time we were here (I believe it was 8/29) we were dealing with a severed hand and two severed heads. At that time I was ranting about what a bizarre and violent play this is. I guess I can just continue the rant, eh?
Titus was one of the first plays that Will wrote, and of course we really have no idea what he was thinking when he went into this one. Oh the Greenblatts and the Shapiros would have you know that Will 'could have' been reacting to his event, or 'may have' been present at that event which 'might possibly' have shaped his way of thinking. But the reality is that we just don't know (one of these days I'm going to get into a serious rant about how much we don't know about Will, but not today). We don't even know for sure when he wrote this play but it seems to be in pretty good agreement that it was one of his first. That being said, was he going for the shock and awe effect, or what? I guess I could go back and count the murders and dismemberments, but…
So I guess the moral of the story is that if you're trying to get some teenage boys interested in Shakespeare then, sorry to say, you might want to use this play. And that comment can lead us into a really long discussion of violence in today's society, video games, movies, etc., etc. But I'm really not prepared to go there right now. Let's see if we can't just find something a bit more restful or peaceful to end today's post on.
This is a Tennessee sunset. Pretty, isn't it? And peaceful.