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Critical examinations of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus almost always occlude questions of the domestic. Yet, a major portion of the play’s action takes place in a house and the methods of the characters’ revenge can be construed as domestic. More simply, in Titus, household properties and domestic rituals are transformed into instruments of vengeance. With a particular focus on the cultural and historical conditions governing literary production in early modern England, this thesis draws on previous scholarly work and examines the intersection of domesticity and revenge in Titus. The thesis is divided into two sections, each of which addresses different, though overlapping, ways in which domesticity – broadly speaking – operates in the play. The first section examines the play’s two competing revenge plots, demonstrating that not only are they domestic in nature, but also that many of the play’s features align closely with generic traits and devices integral to plays classified as “Domestic Tragedies.” The second section focuses on Titus Andronicus’ Senecan roots and examines carefully the function(s) of the domestic setting in Titus as well as Seneca’s Thyestes, one of Shakespeare’s sources. I explore the ways in which the play’s domestic setting is distinctly Senecan and discuss Shakespeare’s alterations to his Latin source. While the house becomes a site of domestic and dynastic anxiety in both Seneca’s Thyestes and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s play evinces a concern with domestic privacy that Seneca’s does not.
Brinkman, Ashley Marie (2008). Domestic Titus. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from