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Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus


by William Shakespeare

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Tragedy

Anticipation Stage

In this stage, Booker says, the hero is in some way incomplete and unfulfilled. His thoughts are turned toward the future in hope of some unusual gratification. When Titus returns home after a ten-year war with the Goths, he wants to wrap things up (make a ritual sacrifice to appease the spirits of his two dead sons, whom he is about to bury) so he can enjoy his retirement.

Dream Stage

Things seem to be going according to plan. Titus entombs his sons and sacrifices the eldest son of the Queen of the Goths, Tamora. He also gets to choose Rome's new emperor and is elated when his pick (Saturninus) wants to marry his daughter, Lavinia.

Frustration Stage

Uh oh. When Titus's sons helps Bassianus carry off Lavinia (apparently, they've been engaged for some time), Titus kills his own son, Mutius, during the fray. And Tamora quickly becomes the Emperor's new fiancé, which means she's in a position to pay back Titus for sacrificing her son.

Nightmare Stage

Tamora and Aaron proceed to orchestrate a series of violent attacks on Titus's family. Lavinia is raped, Titus's sons are put to death for the murder of Bassianus, and Titus is duped into cutting off his own hand. Titus is in a state of despair.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage

Titus vows revenge and kills Demetrius and Chiron before serving them into a meat pie to their mother, Tamora. When Titus stabs Tamora, he is immediately killed by her husband, Saturninus. So that's the end of that.

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