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Shakespeare Connected - Shakespeare and Religious War

Titus Andronicus, 2003.

We all know what’s in that pie, don’t we?

Hark, villains, I will grind your bones to dust,
And with your blood and it I’ll make a paste,
And of the paste a coffin I will rear,
And make two pasties of your shameful heads.


A ‘coffin’ was the actual term for a pastry case. Here Titus is addressing Tamora’s sons, who have raped and mutilated his daughter Lavinia. They have behaved like Tereus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and end up like Tereus’ son.

Classical precedents apart, this Elizabethan pie has undergone the same transformation as the Norman machacre (see Slide 3): from something that belongs in the kitchen to the result of sectarian violence.


Photo by John Haynes © RSC.


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