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The Mutilated Garden in

Titus Andronicus
By Albert H. Tricomi
Presented by Dara Miller
Titus Andronicus
Distasteful mishmash or widely misunderstood?
Critical re-eamination! "icholas Broo#e and
Alan $ommers
The issue of taste! decorous %oetry and $enecan
horror
&rnamentality and decorati'eness of %oetry
thematic matri
Central Thesis
()The* thematic matri+ which ,o'erns the ima,istic
structure of the %lay+ culminates in a dialectic contrast
between the %lay-s %redatory animal ima,es and its
cardinal emblem of the endurin, but mutilated ,arden.
Throu,h these central ima,e %atterns+ the %lay re'eals
the tra,ic efforts of the Andronici to %reser'e a world of
ci'ili.ed 'irtues from the onslau,ht of demonic
barbarism/the 'ery 0ualities of lan,ua,e in Titus
Andronicus that once ecited critical contumely hold
the %otential for re'ealin, the %lay-s thematic inte,rity
and ima,inati'e %ower.1
The Forest and the Fountain
$%ea#+ ,entle niece+ what stern un,entle hands Hath lo%%-d
and hew-d and made thy body bare &f her two branches+
those sweet ornaments+ 2hose circlin, shadows #in,s ha'e
sou,ht to slee% in
Alas+ a crimson ri'er of warm blood+ 3i#e to a
bubblin, fountain stirr-d with wind+ Doth rise and fall
between thy rosed li%s+ Comin, and ,oin, with thy honey
breath.
(Titus 2.4)
The Forest and the Fountain
Clemens! (4t is not only the idea that a human bein,
at si,ht of such atrocities can burst forth into a lon,
s%eech full of ima,es and com%arisons which
a%%ears so unsuitable and inor,anic5 but it is rather
the/almost wanton %layfulness which re'eals the
incon,ruity.1
Tricomi: Not ludicrous; establishes principal
images of garden setting
The Forest and the Fountain
(Traditional fiture in %astoral
settin,1
Associates with ima,es of the lily+ the
deer+ and the %ar# all also
associated with 3a'inia
6orest de'ol'es from (lo'ely and
attracti'e1 to becomin, synonymous
with (barbarism and chaos1
The Forest and the Fountain
Lavinia as bubbling fountain
appropriate, tasteful,
almost conventional image of
lost virginity and subsequent
shame
!mblem of ceaseless
suffering and loss"fountain of
sorro#ful life
$n Titus% vie#, transforms into
a brine&pit
Other Nature Imagery:
'aron adder, panther, raven, blac( f ly
Tamora lions, tigers, and bears )oh my*+
'ndronici overall identified as plants, cut
do#n or stunted in their gro#th
Tamora etc identified as savage carnivores
preying upon the 'ndronici, #ho are the f lesh
and blood of civili,ed -ome
.lash leads to destruction of pastoral #orld
Transformation and etaliation:
-evenge leads to transformation
/nce revenge is accomplished, no choice left but
death for Titus and Lavinia
The play%s resolving metaphor: the fractured and
dismembered garden can begin to gro# again
.onclusions: 0ynthesi,ing emblem of the
mutilated garden reveals integrity of imagistic
structure and authenticity of tragic idea

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