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Titus Andronicus is the most berated of Shakespeares tragedies All the debates of scholarship come into play whenever the authorship and value of this apprentice masterpiece are discussed Cutts 59 In this essay I shall not attempt further to grace this debate but rather to state why William Shakespeare wrote this most controversial play why it has survived for so long what it means and what it tries to convey to its audiences The authorship of this play is argued because Shakespeare borrowed a lot of the ideas from different stories and plays and apparently someone else had written the same story of Titus Andronicus some time before Shakespeare He just borrowed it and made it better Dowden 54 That allegation however has yet to be proved Scholars list some of the sources for Titus to be Euripides Hecuba Senecas Tyestes and Troades and parts of Ovid and Plutarch httpsearchebcomshakespeare Earlier I described the play as an apprentice masterpiece in this respect just as an apprentice carpenter of the period would prepare and create for himself a test piece thereby attaining the final articles before becoming a fully fledged practitioner of his craft so in much the same way Titus Andronicus was Shakespeares test piece and template for all the great tragedies that were to follow - Lear Othello Hamlet and Macbeth Encarta CD-ROM Just as the apprentice would create a formula piece such as an infants high chair so Shakespeares formula was to write within the style and structure of the revenge drama of the time Performing within this structure one becomes increasingly aware of the genius of the writer Dowden 58 The apprentice carpenter server his master but Shakespeare is his own apprentice and his own master The disciplines he has created for himself are the disciplines which will exercise and paradoxically exorcise the spirit of his art and the ultimate meaning of the story he wants to tell the story of Titus
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