This paper revisits classroom strategies of two decades ago and the conference presentation that developed from them. Critics have come to regard Shakespeare's early tragedy Titus Andronicus as more than an early and inferior drama or one whose excess of violence makes it flawed. The early play merits attention for its insights in how Shakespeare evolved to write his mature tragedies Hamlet and Othello. A class in the Early Plays of Shakespeare (EH 403) usually studies the mature tragedies early in the semester, then revisits them with more insight after coverage of Titus Andronicus. Central to classroom debate is a complete definition of tragedy that includes the nuances of hamartia (a "trait" or blind spot perceived in the moment as more of a virtue than it is a flaw), of self-recognition of one's own error, and of how an audience might experience catharsis. Also crucial is the availability of comparative productions that can be viewed. The original BBC production with Trevor Peacock in the title role streams for JSU students at Ambrose Video. Julie Taymor's production, despite its DVD-only availability has entered the popular culture as a visionary approach to an under acknowledged classic. In addition to the text of paper delivered at the Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Conference, this submission provides a list of key resources appended to the end and a set of question options as a separate document.
Gates, Joanne E. "Teaching 'Titus Andronicus' in order to Re-examine Shakespeare's Evolution of the Tragic Form." Conference Paper Presented at Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Conference, Silver Spring, Maryland. November 4, 2001.