Titus und kein Ende

Zum Problem der Schlussgebung in Shakespeares römischer Rachetragödie (mit Rücksicht auf Müller und Strauß)

In: Poetica
Author: Tobias Döring1
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  • 1 Department für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, Deutschland

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As part of the discussion on the poetics of endings, this paper looks at Shakespeare’s early Roman revenge tragedy as a particularly rich case study. Readers, spectators, and critics of Titus Andronicus have long been puzzled and sometimes annoyed by the sense of uncertainty and irresolution which this play seems to leave us with, even though its final speeches take us through the motions of a strong conclusion. Recent criticism has especially focussed on the figure of the new emperor, whose words close the tragedy with traditional burial orders but whose authority remains in doubt. My paper reopens the case by drawing also on two German adaptations, Heiner Müller’s Anatomie Titus Fall of Rome (1984) and Botho Strauß’s Schändung (2005), as heuristic texts to highlight fundamental ruptures that are at stake here. Trying to put the question of endings also into the religious context of the English Reformation and into the culture of the playhouse, the paper argues that Shakespeare’s dramatic non-ending in Titus may indeed be quite productive.

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