Titus Andronicus is reputedly Shakespeare's first play, a bloody tale of sacrifice, murder, rape, revenge, and the constant struggle of society to reassert itself as a civilisation rather than a means of subjugation. Titus (played by a grizzly Anthony Hopkins) is a Roman general returning from war with the Goths. He is victorious, but his victory is Pyrrhic in many ways. Before his character is even established he is sacrificing one of his hostages as a means of placating the dead. He is cold and callous, disregarding the cries of Tamora, the hostage's mother and queen of the Goths (played by a Machiavellian Jessica Lange).
What comes to pass is not so much a cycle of revenge as a stereotypic, nagging, gnawing torment as one after another, Titus's own kin are mutilated or slain. Job.like, he stumbles from one barbarism to another, wondering what can come next. What can possibly