The Most Lamentable Tragedie of Titus Andronicus, Third Quarto, pp. 22
Brooke Di Spirito,
This is an annotated page from Titus Andronicus for Professor
Erika Boeckeler's ENGL 7282 course: Material,
Agential, Sustainable Shakespeare at Northeastern University.
The most lamentable Romaine tragedie of Titus
The most lamentable Romaine tragedie of Titus Andronicus. As it hath sundry times beene plaide by the Kings Maiesties seruants.
Printing information on the title page: Printed [by Edward Allde] for Eedward White, and are to be solde at his shoppe, nere the little north dore of Pauls, at the signe of the Gun
In a 19th-century English gold tooled red grained sheep binding with the coat of arms of David Garrick tooled in gold in the centre of both covers. Author, title, place and date of publication are lettered in gold up the flat spine. The edges of the boards and the turn-ins are gold tooled. The edges of the leaves are gilt. With comb marbled paper endleaves. Signed at the top on the turn-in of the upper cover 'TUCKETT. BINDER. BRITISH MUSEUM'.
David Garrick, bequeathed 1779
This encoded version of page twenty-two of the Third Quarto of Titus Andronicus is a work of feminist reading and praxis, illuminating the presence of women and other feminine aspects on this page in a play that is otherwise dominated by masculine voices. In order to do this, we have made binary determinations of the perceived gender of the characters. While our team does not believe that gender can be neatly relegated to only two categories, the tools that we are using—namely TEI and CSS—require that we make a choice regarding what counts as “feminine” and what counts as “masculine” on this page. The goal of these interpretive choices is to illuminate and center the voices of women in this work, and while this has resulted in the need to implement a level of analytical interpretation and strategic contemplation regarding the genders of these characters, we hope that in making our process transparent and accessible, we may dismiss any belief that our interpretation of the text is the only way to read this page, or even the best way.
As a result, the elements of the page that we have determined as most useful for broadcasting the influence and presence of women on this page, is to focus on encoding the genders of the characters, the gendered references to nature, the gendered social titles present, as well as the gendered implications of the characters’ names. While our encoded text is excerpted out of the larger work, we have included the cast list of characters featured on the page in order to provide the clearest significance possible of the characters. Taking a note from other digital encoding projects such as the Women Writers Project, we consider the text to be a material object in its own right, rather than as a work of literature. For this reason, we treat our scanned edition of page twenty-two of the third Quarto of Titus Andronicus as its own object inscribed with relations of power and displays of labor that may differ from other editions of the same play.
This text is an excerpt of page twenty two of the Third Quarto from the British Public Library of Titus Andronicus. It has been used as an excerpt from this project. This edition also included a rewriting of a Cast List for the play, not from the original version, but written to include all of the characters on the page.
While much of the original page was reinterpreted in this edition, there were some textual features that we chose to maintain from the original text, including special characters like the long s (ſ), original punctuation, and much of the original spelling. However, we decided to encode the original and regularized spelling for certain words (largely to distinguish between u and v) with a choice attribute. This was for both accessibility and to maintain some features of the original despite our reimagining of the page.
To encode and foreground gender on this page of Titus Andronicus, we decided to mark moments of gender as interpretations and structural information. The first instance of this is marking the gender of the speakers on the page for each speaker, using both gender attributes in the castList and using xml:ids to associate each instance with the speaker labels.
We encoded other aspects of gender on the pace as an element of symbolism, social power, and space. For example, there are two main interpretations of gender that we encoded in this text using interpretation tags (interp). The first interpretation was gender dynamic in the animal symbolism on the page with “animal-as-masc-symbol” or “animal-as-femme-symbol.” Instead of separately marking instances of gender and nature as separate on the page, we encoded this relationship to emphasize the connection between women and nature in Titus Andronicus. In a similar vein, our interpretive tags “masc-role” and “femme-role” are used to highlight the divisions of gendered social and political power, connected again to who takes up literal and metaphorical space on the page. While Tamora has a fair number of lines on the page, there is a disproportionate way in which her authority is expressed or noted. Instead of the repetition of “Lords,” her power is only noted by Aron as he discusses the “Empresse chest.” In the CSS, we were able to then mark each type of interp tag with different colors, allowing the reader to notice and mark these patterns on the page.
In prioritizing a feminist interpretation over an ‘authentic’ digital reproduction of the structure of this page, we worked to mark and visualize gender as an important lens for interpreting Titus Andronicus and Shakespeare’s work. In the end, this edition is as much a revision as it is an intervention, making visible and transparent the ways that gender works on the page. While it is a small part of the entire edition, we made sure to mark—both visually and textually—our own labor in this project, as seen in “encoded by” section under the title.
This encoded version of page twenty-two of the Third Quarto of Titus Andronicus is a work of feminist reading and praxis, illuminating the presence of women and other feminine aspects on this page on a play that is otherwise dominated by masculine voices. As a result, the elements of the page that we have determined as most useful for broadcasting the influence and presence of women on this page, is to focus on encoding the genders of the characters, the gendered references to nature, the gendered social titles present, as well as the gendered implications of the characters’ names.
For a full background and context to this feminist interpretation, please read our complete editorial declaration here.
Lavinia, Sole female Andronicus
Tamora, Queen of the Goths, Roman empress
Bassianus, Murder victim of Lavinia’s rapists, Lavinia’s betrothed
Saturnine, Tamora’s husband
Aron, Tamora’s lover
Marcus, Lavinia’s Uncle
Titus, Father of Lavinia
Demetrius, Lavinia’s Rapist, Tamora’s son
Chiron, Instigator of Lavinia's rape
And you hau ve rung it luſtily my Lords,
Somewhat to early for new married Ladies.
Lauvinia, how ſay you?
I ſay no : I hauve been broad awake two houres & (more.
Come on then, horſe and Chariots let vus hauve,
And to our ſport: Madam, now ſhall ye ſee,
Our Romaine hunting.
I hauve doggs my Lord,
Will rouze the proudeſt Panther in the Chaſe,
And clime the higheſt promontary top.
And I hauve 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 plucke a!dainty Doe to ground.
He that had wit would thinke that I had none,
To bury ſo much gold vunder a tree,
And heuver after to inherite it.
Let him that thinks of me so abiectly
Know that this gold must coine a ſtratageme,
which cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent peece of vwillany:
And ſo repoſe sweet gold for their vunreſt,
That hauve their almes out of the Empreſſe Cheſt.
Enter Tamora alone to
My louvely Aron, wherefore look'ſt thou ſad,
When euery thing doth make a gleefull boaſt?
The birds chaunt melody on euery buſh,
The Snake lies rolled in the chearefull ſunne,
The greene leauves quiever with the cooling winde,
And make a checkered ſhadow on the ground:
VUnder their ſweet ſhade, Aron let vus ſit,
And whilſt the babling Ecchoe mocks the hounds,
Replying ſhrilly to the well tun'd hornes,
Lavinia is a character in Virgil's The Aeneid. She is the last wife of Aeneas. Additionally, her name closely resembles the word "vine," and she is tied to many ecological symbols throughout the play.
Her name contains "amor." Love is physically inside of her name. Amor is a play on A Moor, as in, Aron, whom she loves. These are a representation of her pregnancy with Aaron's child.
His name calls to the god Saturn, whose reign was known as a Golden Age.
Titus, as in Titan. Andro, meaning man.
Demeter, the goddess of the fertility of the Earth.
He is a Moor, connecting back to the "amor" in Tamora's name. This is also an anagram for "Roma." Note the dichotomy between an insider and an outsider of Roma.
His name is a combination of letters Chi(X) and Rho(R), which is also seen in Catholicism as a symbol for Christ.
This part of Lavinia's line appears at the end of the preceding line from Bassianus as it was too long for the width of the page in the Third Quarto. While it is not uncommon for characters to share a line of iambic pentameter in Shakespeare's plays, this is a matter of material space, where Lavinia's line marks out space on the page, largely taken up by the masculine characters addressing and talking about her.
The men discuss stalking a panther in language that could represent the hunting and rape of Lavinia.
Lavinia is referenced metaphorically as a Doe, a shy, essentially helpless creature. Chiron and Demetrius plan to assault her in a very animalistic sense, in the same manner as one hunting a deer. While we have marked this section with our interp "animal-as-femme-symbol," this is an important moment on this page and in the larger play. While the violence that Lavinia is subjected to do not happen on this page, this is a metaphorical allusion to this future violence by Demetrius. In her chapter, "Is It Really Ecocritical If It Isn't Feminist?: The Dangers of 'Speaking For' in Ecological Studies and Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus", Jennifer Munroe writes that "The metaphorization of Lavinia as doe renders her an animal object for the taking such that rape simply serves as the natural expression of domination of human over nonhuman, man over woman" (41). This discussion of gender and nature serves as both as inspiration for our feminist encoding of this page and our further use of interp to mark the relationship between nature, gender, and power on the page.
Birds singing in the trees are just as oblivious and helpless to a possible predator as Lavinia is to her rapists.
The image of the snake lying in wait resembles that of Chiron and Demetrius' plans to rape Lavinia. It also references their ability to strike at any moment, such as in stabbing Demetrius. It is also interesting to note that only Snake, Panther, and Doe are capitalized on this page.
This section outlines the interpretive tags that we used to mark patterns of gender, animal symbolism, and social roles throughout the text, including a tag description and motivation.
"animal-as-masc-symbol": This tag marks instances where animals are symbols for masculine people or masculine concepts.
"animal-as-femme-symbol": Instances where animals are symbols for feminine people or feminine concepts. Throughout this play, nature plays a significant role for both the setting and allusion of violence, especially as it relates to gender. By marking the animal symbolism by gender, we are marking the power dynamics that these symbols also mark in the play and on the page.
"masc-role": Social or political roles that are gendered male or are masculine.
"femme-role": Social or political roles that are gendered female or are feminine. Just as marking the gendered differences for nature on this page, marking moments of gender and social roles also marks social relationships of power on the page, a key component of the way that women are discussed, treated, and violated in this play. This is especially true for Lavinia, who is reduced to a pawn for the men in her family in their power struggle and feud with Tamora and Aron.
"Is It Really Ecocritical If It Isn't Feminist?: The Dangers of 'Speaking For' in Ecological Studies and Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus"
Ecological Approaches to Early Modern English Texts: A Field Guide to Reading and Teaching.
Edward J. Geisweidt