Immagini della pagina



SATURNINUS, son to the late Emperor of Rome, and after
wards declared Emperor.

BASSIANUS, brother to Saturninus; in love with Lavinia.
TITUS ANDRONICUS, a noble Roman, general against the

MARCUS ANDRONICUS, tribune of the people, and brother
to Titus.

[blocks in formation]


sons to Tamora.

AARON, a Moor, beloved by Tamora.

A Captain, Tribune, Messenger, and Clown; Romans.
Goths and Romans.

TAMORA, Queen of the Goths.

LAVINIA, daughter to Titus Andronicus.

A Nurse.

Senators, Tribunes, Officers, Soldiers, and Attendants.

SCENE: Rome, and the country near it


Four days represented on the stage, with, possibly, two intervals. Day 1. I., II. 1.


2. II. 2.-4., III. 1.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Dramatis Persona. First supplied, imperfectly, by Rowe. The Ff mark the Acts but not the Scenes. The Qq mark neither Acts nor Scenes.


THE first known edition of Titus Andronicus appeared Early in 1600, with the following title-page :


'The most lamenta- ble Romaine Tragedie of Texts. Titus | Andronicus. | As it hath sundry times been playde by the Right Honourable the Earl of Pembrooke, the Earl of Darbie, the Earle of Sussex, and the Lorde Chamberlaine theyr Seruants. | AT LONDON, Printed by I. R. for Edward White | and are to be solde at his shoppe, at the little | North doore of Paules, at the signe of the Gun. 1600. Another Quarto (Q2), printed from this, appeared in 1611.

The First Folio text was printed from a copy of the Second Quarto, in which a few MS. alterations and additions seem to have been made for stage purposes. The Folio text also contains a whole scene (iii. 2.) not found in the Quartos, and probably, since it does not contribute to the action, omitted in performance.

An adaptation of the play by Ravenscroft was published in 1687 under the title Titus Andronicus, or the Rape of Lavinia.

Our first explicit evidence of an 'Andronicus' play Date of


belongs to the year 1594. On January 23 Henslowe tion. recorded the performance of a 'tittus and ondronicus' as a 'new' play. In February a play Titus Andronicus was entered in the Stationers' Register, as well

German and Dutch Andronicus plays.

as a ballad, doubtless occasioned by its success, 'A
noble Roman historie of Titus Andronicus.' It is
very probable that this may be identified with the
play of 1600; for Langbaine1 records an edition
of this printed in 1594. The play is there declared

to have been played by the servants of the Earls of
Derby, Pembroke, and Essex. Henslowe has how-
ever certain earlier entries which possibly relate to an
'Andronicus' play; thus: Tittus and Vespacia, 11 April,
1591-2, and repeatedly afterwards during the follow-
ing May and June; as well as Titus (tittus) on
January 6, 15, 29, 1592-3. Little reliance can be
placed on these entries; but we have other evidence
that towards the close of the eighties the story of
Titus Andronicus was embodied in a popular play
which long remained a landmark in the annals of
the stage.
'He that will swear Jeronimo or Androni-
cus are the best plays yet,' Jonson could write in
1614, 'shall pass unexcepted at here, as a man whose
judgment shows it is constant, and hath stood still
these twenty-five or thirty years.'2 We may infer
that, in 1614, only one play currently known as
Andronicus existed, and that this dated from 1584-9.
This favours the view that there never had sub-
stantially been more than one play on the story,
whatever slight variations in detail it may have under-
gone. The series of Andronicus tragedies in German
and Dutch indicate no variation in any point of the
plot. The most important of them for the student

1 Account of English Dramatick Poets, 1691, p. 464.

2 Induction to Bartholomew Fair.

3 These are: (1) Eine sehr klägliche Tragoedia von Tito Andronico und der hoffertigen Kayserin, darinnen denckwür

dige actiones gefunden; (2) Jan Vos, Aran en Titus, of wraak en weer-wraak ('or Vengeance and counter-vengeance') (performed 1641); (3) German versions of Vos. One of these, performed at Linz in 1699, is known to us by the detailed programme.

of Shakespeare is the German comedy played about 1600 by the English actors abroad under the title: 'A very lamentable tragedy of Titus Andronicus and the haughty empress.' This piece abounds in superficial divergences from the English text. Most of the names are different. Lavinia is called Andronica, Lucius Vespasianus, Marcus Victoriates, Aaron Morian, Tamora's sons Helicates and Saphonus, and Tamora herself Aetiopissa; while the Goths are replaced by Moors. These names suggest that the German play was derived from a rival version of the story, designed to attract the public by a specious air of novelty, while keeping the name of the hero.1 Henslowe's entry of a 'tittus and Vespacia,' mentioned above, is certainly noticeable in connexion with the 'Vespasianus,' who in the German play replaces Lucius ; but the structure of hypothesis thus erected is of perilous frailty, and quite incapable of supporting any conclusion. As Creizenach points out,2 Henslowe's play may quite as well have dealt with the two emperors so named. But in any case the German version contains no trace of organic divergence from the English. Its eight 'acts' follow in rude epitome the same course, omitting, together with everything distinctively learned, much that was needed to make the plot coherent and intelligible.3

1 How slight a bearing the names have upon the literary history of the piece may be inferred from the fact that the name of Titus' daughter, Lavinia in the English play, is Andronica in the German, Rozelyne in Vos, and Lavinia again in the programme of 1699 of a play otherwise wholly founded on Vos.

2 W. Creizenach: Schauspiele der englischen Comoedianten,

p. 5.

3 Thus the sacrifice of Tamora's son disappears from the first Act, and with it the ground and justification of the queen's insatiable thirst for vengeance. Titus' epistolary summons to the gods is in a style of humour too learned for the purpose of the English comedians, and disappears from the play; but an accidental allusion to it later on (Act VII.) shows that it occurred in the original.

« IndietroContinua »