About Us

This website was created for an ENGL 1102 class at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Our professor was Thomas Lolis, teaching the class “#DigitalBard: New Media Approaches to Shakespearean Drama”.

The creators are Brian Kuo, Sean So, Gabe Park, Tim Ochsner, and Elaine Nguyen.

The purpose of this website is to act an artifact for Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. This website incorporates the culture before Shakespeare’s time as well as our culture today. Before Shakespeare, the ancient Romans took pride in their mythology. Shakespeare was deeply influenced by their time and drew from their culture. Just as Shakespeare was influenced by the ancient Romans, the people of today are influenced by the culture of Shakespeare’s time. We see similar themes and characters from Shakespeare’s world in our culture today from books to movies. This website attempts to connect the cultures of all three time periods by incorporating multimedia such as video footage, still photos, and interactivity. It was made for the purpose of helping people to better understand Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus by relating the themes and characters of Shakespeare’s work to the modern works of today including the movies: Gladiator, 300, Kill Bill, and more.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Trailer from the 1999 film Titus.

(Source: youtube.com)

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Violence in Titus with Modern Restrospect

vi·o·lence   /ˈvī(ə)ləns/

Noun:
  1. Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
  2. Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.
Sweeney Todd
       Although the development and progression of the modern world has brought with it both quantitative and qualitative rises in theatrical or general acceptance of gore, violence, and sex/nudity, everything has its limits. How much is too much? How much was too much then, and how’s that apply to the world today?
       If your five year old turns on the tv, it may be no surprise to see an episode CSI and you may even watch a cold-blooded murder. This show - as well as other shows, plays, and movies - are completely normal in the world today. Yet at the same time, these modern forms of violence would not be accepted in reality - only theatrically. Even today, the violence you find in these shows is much more visual and realistic, yet even so the violence and experience you get from Titus Andronicus out-does what you would experience when viewing a typical CSI show.
       But there are plays today that receive very similar responses to that of one of Shakespeare’s first plays. Tim Burton’s film adaptation of “Sweeney Todd the Demon barber of Flet Street” presents an equally distasteful violent setting and plot. According to film critic Robert Ebert of the Chicago-Sun Times, “In telling this story, half-measures will avail him nothing. The bloodiest musical in stage history, it now becomes the bloodiest in film history, and it isn’t a jolly romp, either, but a dark revenge tragedy with heartbreak, mayhem and bloody good meat pies.” It’s easy to see the relation and why the same can be said about Titus Andronicus
       One distinction that’s important to make is the difference between ‘gore’ and ‘violence’. CSI may be equally violent, but it’s entirely less disturbing. At the end of CSI, you always get the satisfaction of knowing the killer was caught. In Titus (as well as Sweeney Todd), not only is this satisfaction taken from you, but the amount of violence is raised significantly with a large number more murders and then presented with a forced sense of distasteful gore. That is too much gore. That is overkill, just as Sweeney Todd was, even with modern acceptance and development.

Sources:

  • Picture:1
  • Bate, Jonathan, ed. Titus Andronicus. London: Arden Shakespeare, 1995. Print.
  • Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Johnny Depp, Carter Helena Bonham, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall. DreamWorks SKG, 2007. Film.

(Source: rogerebert.suntimes.com)

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Anthony Hopkins portraying Titus Andronicus in the 1999 film Titus.

Anthony Hopkins portraying Titus Andronicus in the 1999 film Titus.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Titus (1999) - A Modern Interpretation of an Old Story

In the 1999 film Titus, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, director Julie Taymor definitely decided to take some creative liberties with the play’s plot.

During several scenes, the film combines elements of the past from Ancient Rome with elements of the present, such as automobiles and modern day militaristic attire.  This combination of different plot elements and settings helps to create a novel twist on Titus Andronicus that still preserves Shakespeare’s original story.

Although every line from Titus is from the play on which it is based, key changes such as omissions of certain lines or the inclusion of artifacts from completely other eras helps to both enhance the plot of Titus Andronicuswhile simultaneously keeping it the same.

Sources:

  • Picture:1
  • Bate, Jonathan, ed. Titus Andronicus. London: Arden Shakespeare, 1995. Print.
  • Titus. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. A Julie Taymor Film, 1999. DVD.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Titus Characters vs. Modern Characters: Aaron and the Joker

In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, the character of Aaron is portrayed as almost the epitome of evil and wrongdoing.  His ruthless nature, combined with his apparent disregard for human life contribute to this characterization.  

Throughout Titus Andronicus, Aaron has a hand in almost every crime or major offense, including murder, tricking Titus to cut one of his own hands off, blasphemy, and disloyalty.  Although Aaron may be considered the “best” father in all of Titus Andronicus due to his fierce protection of his child, any good in him is quickly overshadowed by his delight in causing suffering in his targets and his lack of regret for any of his actions. 

Aaron, in particular, is all actions and no motivation.  Strictly speaking, there is no real mention within the play for why Aaron acts the way he does.

Aaron is similar to the Joker of the Batman universe in many ways.  Specifically, both Aaron and the Joker are very smart individuals who have very little regard for human life.  Both have little apparent motive for their actions, and both appear to be just a little bit insane.  As mentioned in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Sources: 1, 2

  • Bate, Jonathan, ed. Titus Andronicus. London: Arden Shakespeare, 1995. Print.
  • Titus. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. A Julie Taymor Film, 1999. DVD.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Titus Characters vs. Modern Characters: Titus Andronicus vs. King Leonidas

In Shakespeare’s play Titus Andronicus, Titus is a very successful General of Rome. His unrelenting honor is demonstrated when he refuses the scepter of Rome due to his old age. Instead, he picks Saturninus over Bassianus as the next Emperor of Rome because he is the eldest son of the previous Emperor. He does this even though Bassianus is a much better candidate to take up the throne.  This shows that Titus values tradition very much, remaining strictly adherent to the old ways. It also shows that he cares very much about Rome because his intentions are for the good of the country. 

The character of Titus is very similar to the character of King Leonidas from the movie 300. They are similar in that they are both generals of an army, but more importantly, both Titus and and King Leonidas are very honorable men who would sacrifice anything for the sake of their country. The scene where Leonidas leads the Spartan army of 300 men into battle against the Persian army of 100,000 knowing that he is going to lose demonstrates the extent of how much he values honor. Similarly, the scene in Titus where Titus cuts off his own hand in order to get his sons back from the Goths is proof of his honor.

Sources:

  • Picture:1
  • Bate, Jonathan, ed. Titus Andronicus. London: Arden Shakespeare, 1995. Print.
  • 300. Dir. Zack Snyder. Perf. Gerard Butler and Lena Headey. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2007. Film.
  • Titus. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. A Julie Taymor Film, 1999. DVD.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Titus Characters vs. Modern Characters: Tamora vs. Beatrix Kiddo/The Evil Queen

Tamora, Queen of the Goths, is viewed by many audiences as a character with two sides. People sympathize with her character because she is merely a loving mother who only wishes to seek revenge against Titus and the Andronici for her sacrificed son’s death. However, her methods become too evil and harsh for there to be any sympathy left. This sets in motion a collection of brutal and inhumane acts of murder and anguish against many of the plays key players (Bassianus and Lavinia). The image of Tamora transforms from caring mother, to full on evil antagonist.

Let us break down Tamora’s character into two parts: the vengeful mother and the merciless crazy. In Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series, Beatrix Kiddo is the main character who was set up for murder while carrying her child at her own wedding. As a result of the attack, she wakes up years later in a coma without her baby. In an attempt to seek revenge, she seeks out those who were responsible on the day of her wedding. Tamora and Beatrix both display a protective nature that is normal in all mothers. They use this motivation to take down ones responsible for their loss.

The evil development of Tamora’s character can be best compared to the Evil Queen of the classic childhood fairytale, Snow White. The Queen marries a widower King and soon becomes jealous of the beauty of Snow White. Soon after the King’s death, the Evil Queen stops at nothing to torture and kill her beautiful stepdaughter. The Evil Queen, just like Tamora, marries into her power. They then use this new power to inflict pain and suffering onto many innocent lives.

Sources:

  • Pictures:1, 2, 3
  • Bate, Jonathan, ed. Titus Andronicus. London: Arden Shakespeare, 1995. Print.
  • Kill Bill.Prod. Lawrence Bender and Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, and Sonny Chiba. Alliance Atlantis, 2004. DVD.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. By Walt Disney. Perf. Adriana Caselotti. Distributed by Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., 1937. DVD.
  • Titus. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. A Julie Taymor Film, 1999. DVD.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Titus Characters vs. Modern Characters: Saturninus vs. Commodus

Saturninus is the eldest son of the late Roman emperor. He inherits the position of Emperor simply through lineage alone. He is characterized as a weak-willed and corrupt emperor who marries Tamora (Queen of the Goths) so that she can carry out his doings.  Saturninus is also jealous of the Andronici because the people favor them. He uses his new wife and her two sons to wreak havoc on Titus and his family.

Commodus is the notorious antagonist in the hit movie Gladiator. Commodus exerts himself into power by killing his own father, the current Emperor of Rome. This stems from his jealousy of the Roman General Maximus, who his father has declared the next emperor of Rome. A very similar situation occurs in Titus when the people declare that Titus be the new emperor, not Saturninus. Throughout the film, Commodus uses his power to take down and kill the protagonist Maximus. Both Saturninus and Commodus are wrongfully in power and, in return, use this power to commit their deceitful acts.

Sources: 

  • Pictures:1, 2
  • Bate, Jonathan, ed. Titus Andronicus. London: Arden Shakespeare, 1995. Print.
  • Gladiator. Dir. Ridley Scott. Perf. Russell Crowe. DreamWorks LLC and Universal Studios, 2000. Film.
  • Titus. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. A Julie Taymor Film, 1999. DVD.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Titus Characters vs. Modern Characters: Demetrius vs. Malfoy

Demetrius is a Goth prince and is one of the two evil sons of Tamora. It is evident from the play that he is heavily impacted by the corrupt upbringings done by Tamora. This is evident in the scene where Tamora encourages both Demetrius and Chiron to rape Lavinia because of her hatred for Titus. Their violent actions towards Lavinia reveal their malicious nature.

The character of Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter books is analogous to Demetrius. Malfoy is the antagonist in Harry Potter and the most despised character from the series. Similarly to Demetrius, Draco Malfoy’s immorality stems from his father, Lucius Malfoy. In many cases, Lucius Malfoy orders his son to carry out ruthless deeds such as assassinating Albus Dumbledore. Both Draco Malfoy and Demetrius are immature and merciless children of dreadful parents who are raised to have no feelings towards other people. 

Sources:

  • Picture:1
  • Bate, Jonathan, ed. Titus Andronicus. London: Arden Shakespeare, 1995. Print.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Dir. David Yates. Perf. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson,. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2009. Film.
  • Titus. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. A Julie Taymor Film, 1999. DVD.

posted : Monday, April 23rd, 2012

tags : titus demetrius lavinia draco_malfoy character_analysis