- Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
- Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.
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.
- 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.