April 20, 7 pm – The Avenger and the Doomed 
Titus Andronicus and Romeo & Juliet

Chapter 1 of the book A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare's Plays Teach Us About Justice by Kenji Yoshino.

 

Yoshino’s book chapter provides sufficient plot and character of Titus Andronicus to provide the context for discussion and it is not essential to read the whole play. Everyone is familiar with the basic plot of Romeo & Juliet to use it as a reference for discussion. The links provided below should provide additional context.

Discussion Points

 

1.    Cycles of Violence: Revenge cycles often involve disproportionate responses where the retribution exceeds the original wrongdoing. Yoshino’s chapter uses 9/11 and the Iraq war to make this point. What are current cycles of grievances that are deepening our divisions? Cancel culture or Consequence culture may be one such cycle.

2.    Fragility of the Rule of Law: Revenge based societies can only happen when the rule of law is weak or ineffectual. Rule of Law can only happen when almost everyone in a society agrees on a common set of rules all have to abide by. What aspects of American life are currently threatening the rule of law? Consider both the set of rules and the system that enforces those rules.

3.    Lurid Sex and Violence: Both plays showcase lurid sex and violence, with Titus going to extremely gruesome lengths. Why might this be important to explore themes of revenge?
 

 

Some useful links:

 

Themes in Titus Andronicus via Wikipedia

Romeo and Juliet Summary via Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Copies of A Thousand Times More Fair are available for purchase at River Lights Bookstore with a 15% book club discount. River Lights Bookstore is located at 1098 Main St in Downtown Dubuque, Iowa. 563.556.4391 - Shop Local!

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