YMMV / Titus Andronicus

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • It's possible partially to exonerate Tamora, on the grounds that her child (Alarbus) has been brutally killed and her pleas for mercy have been ignored. Her having Bassianus killed is tit for tat (see Not So Different, below), and most of the other atrocities are committed by Aaron.
    • For that matter, Aaron himself can be seen as a bitter, lost and unhinged Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds if you squint a bit.
  • Idiot Plot: A HUGE criticism of the play is how the problems presented had pretty simple, logical solutions but aren't brought up in order to drag out the misery. Then again, some scholars have argued that the play is a possible parody of the tragedies of the time and shows how the characters in tragedies can in fact be completely stupid.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Aaron, though he does tend to get overlooked amongst Shakespeare's other Magnificent Bastards such as Iago and Richard III.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Demetrius, Chiron, Tamora and Aaron all cross with Lavinia's rape and mutilation. The latter two didn't actively participate, but Aaron was the mastermind behind it, and Tamora fully encouraged it, perhaps at this point perversely relinquishing her womanhood in condoning such horrific and misogynistic abuse of another woman. And what's worse, Demetrius and Chiron taunt her about it afterwards, mockingly daring her to try and tell anyone who abused her so thoroughly.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Can't sleep. Titus won't eat me. He'll make someone else eat me. This is mitigated by the fact that Titus only did this to violent rapists and murderers who had it coming, in an extreme fit of vengeful rage. His victims, Demetrius and Chiron, are probably even more nightmarish, with the unspeakable things they do to the innocent Lavinia, without an iota of empathy or remorse. Don't go walking in the woods.
  • Older Than They Think: A character getting revenge on a hated enemy by tricking them into eating their own children. While that idea may be most closely associated with Titus Andronicus, it's also a major plot point in the saga of the House of Atreus in Greek Mythology, in which Atreus gets revenge on his brother Thyestes by killing his sons and serving them up as the main course in a banquet. Considering how much Shakespeare loved the Classics, the ending of Titus is almost certainly a deliberate Shout-Out to this.
  • Squick: If a production doesn't squick someone out, something is very, very, wrong. People were fainting or throwing up while watching the 2014 Globe production, particularly during Lavinia's emergence after her rape and dismemberment.
  • Values Dissonance: If you're baffled by the level of violence in this play, try to remember that it was written in a time when dueling, cockfighting and bear-baiting were all considered perfectly normal forms of entertainment (several London bear-baiting pits were just a short walk from the theaters where Shakespeare's plays were performed, in fact). Any level of staged violence—no matter how gruesome—probably seemed pretty tame to people who frequently entertained themselves with real violence.
  • Values Resonance: In the darkest way possible; Julie Taymor choose to adapt the play to film because she regards it as the closest to our current times.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Really, Saturninus? You think it's a good idea to marry a defeated enemy who has sworn revenge right in front of you and elevate her to empress? And then convict the two sons of the man responsible for her son's death based on one piece of evidence that this revenge-sworn Queen of the Goths gave you? This is justified since Saturninus is portrayed throughout the play as an arrogant dumbass.
    • Speaking of, why did it take everybody so damn long to give Lavinia a stick so she could scratch the names of her rapists out in the sand? Hell, why didn't she just use her feet?
    • Why didn't she go and point them to the guard they aren't exactly hard to find being the sons of the empress.