Titus is a Roman general at the end of his career. He has won a 10 year war against the Goths and has suffered tremendous personal losses. Twenty-one sons have died in this war. Titus has hardened to loss. His life has been devoted to serving his country. He is a believer. Rome and Honor are everything. Returning to Rome feels like a retirement party–I think he is ready for it–he wants to go out on a high note! So much of the setup of the tragedy depends on the positive expectation that Titus has for this last chapter of an honorable life.
What is more damaging to Titus: the revenge that is taken out upon him and his family, or the process of exacting revenge on his enemies.
Nothing hurts more than what happens to his daughter, Lavinia. But when the two heads of his sons are brought to Titus with his freshly severed hand for spite–the game changes. Similar to the moment when the second plane hit the WTC when we realized it was a deliberate terrorist attack, Titus now knows he is all in! Everything he loves has been marred. He becomes the general again and vows to right his family’s wrongs. Titus’ higher power is Rome, the state. When the State no longer enforces fair treatment, Titus has to take a new path to find justice: Revenge. He doesn’t just seek his enemies death, He wants to harm them and watch their agony. Their pain and fear and suffering release him.
Why should we see this play?
If you like roller coasters, you’ll love Titus. There are sudden falls, quick turns, that unsettled feeling, exhilaration, and ending with: “Thank God that’s over. Let’s do it again!”