The most lamentable Tragedie of Titus Andronicus, Quarto 2
In this project, we chose to encode a page of the original second quarto of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus through an ecofeminist perspective. Using TEI encoding methods, we compared it to the regularized version of the text from our Norton Anthology. We wished to highlight the differences between the two versions in our encoding while still giving readers access to both the original and regularized spellings and formats allowing readers to see clearly how formats of Shakespeare shift over time and vary based on those who have edited his works. In addition to marking these variations, we also chose to highlight specific points in the text that we found to be important from an ecofeminist perspective. Parts in Shakespeare’s text that alluded to human-nonhuman relationships and Lavinia’s place as a woman alongside her male counterparts are emphasized via TEI methods such as underlining, color coding, and added notes. In this way we hope to provide readers with a critical analysis of Titus Andronicus that brings attention to ways in which materialism with regards to feminism manifest themselves in the play.
Titus Andronicus, Second Quarto, 1600
Transcribed from a facsimile from The British Library's website bl.uk
And you haue rung it luſtily my Lords,
Somewhat too early for new married Ladies.
Lauvinia, how ſay you : (Moore)
I ſay no : I haue beene broad awake too houres and
Come on then, horſeand Chariots let vs haue,
And to ourſport : Madam, now ſhall ye ſee,
Our Romaine hunting.
I haue doggs my Lord,
Will rouze the proudeſt Ppanther in the chaſe,
And clime the higheſt promontary top.
And I haue horſe will follow where the game
Makes way, and runnes like ſwallowes ore the plaine.
Chiron we hunt not we, with horſe nor hound
But hope to pluck a dainty Ddoe to ground.
Enter Aron alone.
He that had wit, would think I had none,
To bury ſo much gold vnder a tree,
And neuer after to inherite it.
Let him that thinks of me ſo abjectly,
Know that this gold muſt coine a ſtramageme,
Which cunningly effected will beget,
A very excellent peece of villany :
And ſo repoſe ſweet gold for their vnreft,
That haue their almes out of the Eempreſſe Ccheſt.
Enter Tamora alone to the Moore.
My louely Áron, wherefore look'ſt thouſad,
When euery thing doth make a gleefull boaſt;
The birds chaunt melody on euery buſh
The Ssnakes lies rolled in the chearefull ſunne,
The greene leaues quiuer with the cooling wind,
And make a checkered ſhadow on the ground:
Vnder their ſweetſhade, Aron let vs visit,
And whilst the babbling Eecchoe mocks the hounds,
Replying ſhrilly to the well tun'd hornes,
As if a double hunt were heard at once.
Here the word "broad" Lavinia describes herself as being awake, the same can be used to describe a tree being broad in stature. Her prose is also "cut" short as if to foreshadow her as a tree like human being "cut" later in the play. As an eco-feminist reading of this she as a woman is not being heard even when she had a voice to speak.
Oursport here the men are saying they are going to go on a hunt as if a game of play, the game we know is to hunt Lavinia and harm her in the forest as if she is an animal.
Hunting an act to track down and harm if not kill an animal, typically a deer. In this case the men have planned to hunt and track down a woman, Lavinia to rape and disfigure her.
Unlike the non capitalized "doggs" in the line above this one, the P in Panther is capitalized in the quarto suggesting its importance as a possible animal metaphor for the male characters as valiant predators in the hunt. The specific choice of the animal the Panther is peculiar as well. Unlike another predator such as a bear, which can often stand on hind legs, bringing it more human-like characteristics, the use of Panther seems to encourage and emphasize the beastliness of the hunt. In addition, the Panther also brings in cat like attributes to the idea of a predator such as being sneaky and utilizing ambush-like techniques which alludes to the later rape of Lavinia by Tamora's sons.
The capitalization of "Doe" in the second quarto indicates a formal noun just as the capitalization in "Panther" did. The Doe here is interpreted to be a metaphor for Lavinia as they are both the prey and victims of the "double hunt" in this play. However, although the relationship between the human and animal here is blurred, the relationship with regards to planthood is also present in this line through the word "pluck." Pluck is often a word referred to when taking flowers from the earth however, in this case, both Lavinia's dignity, honor, and ability to communicate is taken from her in the rape. This word choice suggests a paralelle between the violation and mistreatment of the earth to the violation and mistreatment of Lavinia and perhaps extends to all women as well.
We are classifying the "double hunt" as a human-animal relationship since we read this double hunt in reference to traditional hunting with the hounds and the implicit hunt for Lavinia.