Shakespeare Connected - Shakespeare and Religious War
Costume Designs for Tamora by Desmond Heeley, 1955.
Towards the end of the Mervaylous Discourse Catherine de Medici is compared to an ancient Visigoth queen, Brunehault. Both married a ‘French’ ruler and brought ruin to their new country. Both had a low-born lover. Brunehault sets her sons against each other in the same way that Catherine does with Protestants and Catholics.
There are similarities (and some important differences) between these queens and Tamora, Queen of the Goths, in Titus Andronicus. Tamora promises ‘I’ll find a day to massacre them all’, and the Mervaylous Discourse accuses Catherine of using the festivities for her daughter’s wedding to massacre the Huguenots.
The feast of the patron saint of those who kill animals for a living would have been a particularly ‘apt’ choice of a day.
Original costume designs for Maxine Audley as Tamora in the RSC’s 1955 production of Titus Andronicus.
Designer: Desmond Heeley (on Peter Brook’s ideas). Director: Peter Brook.
© Peter Brook, courtesy of the RSC archive.
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