University of Virginia Library


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Stage Directions and Speech Headings in Act 1 of Titus Andronicus Q (1594): Shakespeare or Peele?
Macd. P. Jackson


Introducing his own adaptation of Titus Andronicus in 1687, Thomas Ravenscroft denounced the original as "rather a heap of rubbish than a structure," and claimed to have been told "by some anciently conversant with the stage" that Shakespeare had merely given a few "master-touches" to the work of some "private author."[1] By 1765 Samuel Johnson could write, "All the editors and critics agree . . . in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them."[2] Most nineteenth-century scholars continued this tradition of denigration and rejection, though there were some dissenters. Even as late as 1927 no less a commentator than T. S. Eliot called Titus Andronicus "one of the stupidest and most uninspired plays ever written, a play in which it is incredible that Shakespeare had any hand at all."[3] But the tide was turning. John Dover Wilson's edition of Titus Andronicus in the Cambridge New Shakespeare series (1948) was the last to make out a detailed case for dual authorship. Wilson argued that a play by George Peele had been expanded by Peele and Shakespeare, and that although Shakespeare's handiwork was visible throughout the last four Acts, the first Act remained substantially Peele's.[4] Five years later, Arden editor J. C. Maxwell was of two minds. "It may seem tempting to assert roundly that the whole play is by Shakespeare and no one else," he wrote. But he added that he could "never quite believe it while reading Act 1."[5] He too gave grounds for attributing the first Act to Peele.

With the advent, or revival, of an international "Theatre of Cruelty" Titus Andronicus has flourished on the stage and won critical esteem. Peter Brook's 1955 Stratford production, with Laurence Olivier in the title role, discovered something of its power to affect an audience. Eugene M. Waith's


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Oxford edition (1984) sets its seal on the play's rehabilitation. Waith concludes that "Titus Andronicus is entirely by Shakespeare."[6] All those who write about the tragedy tacitly concur. Its authorship is no longer an issue. What used to be considered bad, and therefore not Shakespeare's, is now considered too interesting to be by anybody else, even in part.

But there are good reasons for thinking that modern scholarship has reached the wrong conclusion. The evidence supplied by earlier scholars that Act 1, at least, was largely, if not wholly, composed by George Peele can be supplemented to such an extent that the balance of probabilities is against Shakespeare's sole responsibility for the play as it has come down to us.

"So what?", the reader may object. "We have the play, it interests us, it seems Shakespearean in design. Who cares whether Shakespeare himself did or did not write such-and-such a scene? Isn't the very concept of authorship problematical, at any rate?" Even critics for whom "Shakespeare" is something more than a signpost to sites from which to disinter the shards of disused ideologies may express impatience with the niggling concerns of the "disintegrationist."

Such attitudes, though understandable, are unscholarly. Either Peele was the author of Act 1 of Titus Andronicus or he was not — in the same sense that I am the author of this article and Roland Barthes is the author of an essay entitled "The Death of the Author."[7] Peele, or Shakespeare, or somebody else was the man in whose brain the speeches were conceived and whose hand held the quill when they were first set down. This is a matter of historical fact. Some facts are less easily established than others — we must be content, as in so many human affairs, with probabilities — but in literary history, no less than in other branches of historical research, we have an obligation to get facts as right as we can. In the case of Titus Adronicus our picture of Shakespeare's beginnings as a dramatist is in question. And so is our notion of his place in the Elizabethan entertainment industry. Collaboration and the refurbishing of scripts were common practice. Did the young Shakespeare, early in his playwriting career, work with his experienced elders, as most other tyro playwrights found it expedient to do? Or was he able, right from the start, to strike out unaided and alone?

Francis Meres's listing of Titus Adronicus in 1598 as one of Shakespeare's plays and its inclusion in the First Folio of 1623 fail to settle the matter.[8] If Shakespeare were responsible for about four-fifths of the play's dialogue, Meres and the Folio editors would have been "fully within their rights in calling it his."[9] To name Shakespeare as author of a work is not necessarily to credit him with every line. After all, Wilson and Maxwell both attributed a share


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in Titus Adronicus to Peele, yet their editions each appeared within a "Shakespeare" series, with no second author's name on the title page. The external evidence for Shakespeare's significant involvement with the play is overwhelming, but it leaves open the possibility that another playwright was also involved. We must look to the internal evidence of the text itself.


The evidence to be adduced here first may be described as bibliographical or textual. Let us begin with a modest item. There is general agreement that the 1594 quarto of Titus Andronicus bears all the signs of having been printed from "foul papers," an authorial manuscript that left several ambiguities to be resolved before the script was performed.[10] The call in an early stage direction for the entry of "others as many as can be" was cited by Greg as a typical "author's direction" of the "permissive or petitory" kind.[11] In the same sentence Greg listed "& others as many as may be" in Peele's Edward I (1593). The formula has come to seem characteristic of the authorial foul papers of the age. But in fact these are almost certainly the only two instances of the entry of "others as many as can/may be" in the whole of English Renaissance drama 1576 — 1642.[12]

This may seem a "poor likelihood" to build a case on. But the speech headings and stage directions in the first Act of Titus Andronicus show more extensive traces of the practices of Peele. The quarto begins with a three-line entry direction: "Enter the Tribunes and Senatours aloft: And then enter Saturninus and his followers at one dore, and Bassianus and his followers, with Drums and Trumpets." Then the first six speech headings (sigs. A3 — A4) are all centred over the speeches to which they apply. Three are for Saturninus and two for Bassianus, and one has "Marcus Andronicus with the Crowne." This last-quoted phrase, which follows an eight-line speech from Saturninus and a nine-line speech from Bassianus, serves as a combination stage direction and speech heading. Editors disagree over whether Marcus has entered with the other tribunes at the beginning of the scene and now rises to speak, displaying


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the crown, or whether this direction also marks his entry.[13] At any rate, the scene has several more centred stage directions that also do duty as speech headings. On A4 there is "Enter a Captaine." He speaks six lines without any normal speech heading. Similarly, "Enter Lauinia" on B1v is directly followed by her eight-line speech. And centred stage directions again substitute for speech headings on B4v: "Titus two sonnes speakes" and "Titus sonne speakes"; and once more on C1: "they all kneele and say." The two directions on B4v introduce one-line speeches, the direction on C1 a speech of two lines. The long direction in Titus Andronicus (A4 — A4v) that calls for "others as many as can be" marks the hero's entry in a pageant combining triumph and funeral. It begins "Sound Drums and Trumpets" and ends "and Titus speakes." In this case Titus is also given a normal speech heading.

Nothing comparable to the mix of formulas and oddities in the headings and directions of the opening pages of Titus Andronicus can be found in any other Shakespeare play — in the First Folio (1623) or in any of the twenty-two substantive quartos, "good" and "bad."[14] In the Folio, a play's first speech heading is either centred in the column or placed at the left of the column over the large ornamental letter that begins the dialogue. In many quartos, also, the first speech heading is centred, again usually to avoid an initial ornamental letter or specially large one. In the quarto of Othello the speech heading for Montano is centred after the carefully marked and spaced head to Act 2. In both Folio and quartos, centred headings or directions may introduce songs, poems, or letters that are read aloud. For instance, in The Winter's Tale "Enter Autolicus singing" (F, Bb3) is followed immediately by the text of the song, and in Measure for Measure the Duke asks the Provost to read him a letter he is carrying ("Pray you let's heare."), the heading "The Letter" follows, and the Provost proceeds to read it ("Whatsouer you may heare to the contrary . . .") without having been given an additional speech heading (F, G2v). In 1 Henry IV, 2.3 begins with "Enter Hotspur solus reading a letter," and there is no speech heading before he reads and comments (Q, C4v); and in The Merchant of Venice there is no speech heading for Bassanio before he reads out Antonio's letter, italicized in the text (Q, F3v). Directions for noises offstage may incorporate the words spoken, as in Julius Caesar: "Cry within, Flye, flye, flye" (F, ll 5v). Likewise, crowd scenes sometimes include such directions as the following: "They all cry, Martius, Martius, cast vp their Caps and Launces . . ." (Coriolanus, F, aa4); "Enter one crying a Miracle" and "and they follow, and cry, A Miracle" (2 Henry VI, F, m5v — 6); "Warwicke and the rest cry all, Warwicke, Warwicke, and set vpon the Guard, who flye, crying, Arme, Arme, Warwicke and the rest following


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them" (3 Henry VI, F, p6v). In such cases the rabble are invariably "crying." In I Henry IV Glendower's daughter, Mortimer's wife, is given no specific dialogue, but the direction "The Ladie speakes in Welsh," repeated with minor variations, prompts her contributions (Q, F3).

A choric figure — the Chorus in Henry V, Gower in Pericles, Rumour in the induction to 2 Henry IV — may enter and speak without a normal speech heading. The few other examples of stage directions that also serve as speech headings tend to fall at the beginning of a scene. Richard III opens with "Enter Richard Glocester, solus" (Q, A2) and has "Enter a Scriuener with a paper in his hand" followed by the scrivener's soliloquy, which occupies the whole of 3.6 (Q, G4). In Troilus and Cressida 2.3 begins with "Enter Thersites solus" (Q, D4v), and Thersites delivers an unprefixed soliloquy, and in the same play Achilles speaks without a speech heading after "Enter Achilles with Myrmidons" begins 5.7 (Q, L4). In the "bad quarto" of Romeo and Juliet Paris speaks immediately after the direction that opens 1.2, "Enter Countie Paris, old Capulet" (Q 1597, B2), but a short intervening speech by Montague has been omitted. The same quarto has "Enter Fryer with a Lanthorne" followed by Friar Lawrence's unprefixed speech; this occurs within 5.3 (Q 1597, K2). And in the doubtful quarto of Richard III two of the eleven Ghosts who address Richard and Richmond do so without a speech heading: "Enter the ghost of Lady Anne his wife" (Q, L4), "Enter the Goast of Buckingham" (Q, L4v). No speech heading follows the direction in Henry VIII, 2.4: "The Queene makes no answer, rises out of her Chaire, goes about the Court, comes to the King, and kneeles at his Feete. Then speakes" (F, v2v), which suffices to introduce a very long speech.

Nearly all these exceptional cases fall into recognizable categories, and the remainder seem due to "bad quarto" carelessness. Nowhere do we encounter such a combination of anomalies as in the opening scene of Titus Andronicus: (a) a series of centred speech headings, (b) entries (as of the Captain and Lavinia and possibly Marcus) that also substitute for speech headings and occur within the scene, and (c) three uses of the formula ". . . speaks" or "they . . . say" introducing un-prefixed speeches. Even the use of the phrase "and Titus speakes" to announce a prefixed speech in Titus Andronicus, A4, is highly unusual. Besides the example in Henry VIII, cited at the end of the preceding paragraph, the good Shakespearean texts yield only "which Prospero observing, speakes" at the end of a long direction concerning the masque in The Tempest (F, B2v). The "bad quartos" of 2 Henry VI (The Contention) and 3 Henry VI (The True Tragedy) each have one example of a stage direction ending ". . . and speakes" (Q, H1v; O, C8). Otherwise, none of the Shakespeare texts has a direction ending in this fashion, whether or not a prefix follows. And, if we exclude the instance in Titus Andronicus, the specific verb "say" (or "says" or "saith") is never used either within or at the end of a stage direction in a Shakespearean text.[15]


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The centring of the headings for Bassianus and Saturninus may not reflect the manuscript copy; it may have been a product of the printing-house. The compositor centres speech headings again on I2, where he is obviously wasting space. Even so, there is some evidence that Peele began his manuscripts in the same way, and the other Titus Andronicus anomalies are all common in quartors of his plays.[16] Edward I (1593) begins with a three-line entry direction, and then the centred heading "The Queen Mother," introducing a ten-line speech; after the lords have exited, "Manet Queene Mother" is centred and she continues a very long speech. The following directions immediately precede unprefixed speeches: "The Friar and Guenthian sing: Lluellen speakes to them" (B3v); "Then Lluellen spieth Elinor and Mortimer, and saieth this" (D4); "Mortimer solus" (E1); "Enter Friar" and "Frier lies downe" (E3v); "Enter Iohn Balioll, King of Scots with his traine" (F3); "Potter strikes," "Frier strikes," "Frier kneeles," and "Mortimer kneeles" (F3); "Gloster and Ione hand in hand" (G1); "Longshanks kisses them both and speaks," ". . . Bishop speakes to her in her bed," and "Queene Elinor shee kisses him" (H4); "After the showe . . . Longshanks speaketh" (H4v); "Enter Versses" (I1v); "Enter Queene alone" (I2); "Enter David" and "Enter Souldiers" (I3); "Enter Ione of Acone" (L2). Most of these directions are centred, most fall within a scene, not at its beginning, and the speeches thus introduced range from one to ten lines in length.[17]

In David and Bethsabe (1599), D2, the direction "Dauid in his gowne walking sadly. To him Nathan" introduces an unprefixed speech of eleven lines by David, who ends "But what saith Nathan to his lord the king?" The reply is preceded by both a centred direction, "Nathan to David" and a prefix. On D4v "Enter Dauid with Ioah, Abyssus, Cusay, with drum and ensigne against Rabba" introduces an unprefixed nine-line speech by David. On G3 there is an entry (without "Enter"), "Absalon, Amassa, with all his traine," and Absalon has a long speech, after which follow the directions "Exeunt" and "The battell, and Absalon hangs by the haire" (G3v), and then Absalon speaks sixteen lines without a speech heading. And on G4 "Enter fiue or sixe souldiers" does duty as a heading for a twelve-line speech by one of them.

The Arraignment of Paris (1584) has Pallas and Venus read without speech headings: "Pallas reades" and "Venus reades" (B3v), and "Paris oration to the Councell of the gods" (D3) is unprefixed. These omissions of the normal speech heading are of the exceptional kind countenanced by Shakespeare. But a link with the first Act of Titus Andronicus is provided by the many stage directions ending in ". . . speakes" or ". . . speaketh." There are eleven altogether (A4, A4v, B2v, B3, C1, C2, C3, D2, D4v, E3, E4v). The frequent entry of characters without the word "Enter," as in "Paris and Oenone"


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on B1v, may throw light on "Marcus Andronicus with the Crowne" in Titus Andronicus, if the Oxford editors are right in following the Folio in interpreting this as the point at which Marcus actually enters.[18]

The ". . . speakes" or ". . . speaketh" or ". . . saith" formula is used again by Peele in The Battle of Alcazar (1594) — six times to introduce the Presenter's speeches. The omission of any speech headings for this figure is in line with Shakespearean practice, but the repeated indications that he "speaks" are not. The Old Wives' Tale (1595) has nothing relevant except the centred speech heading for "Anticke" after the initial entry direction.

Even the stagecraft indicated by some of the directions seems characteristic of Peele. Titus Andronicus is the only play in the Shakespeare canon that begins with an entry "aloft" followed immediately by entries (at separate doors) onto the main platform, and that proceeds with dialogue between characters on the two levels, and movement up and down. David and Bethsabe opens in a similar fashion, with David "above" viewing Bethsabe below and calling on Cusay to enter at the upper level and then descend in order to fetch Bethsabe to him. In the next scene "Ioab speakes aboue," "Enter Cusay beneath," and Joab calls on Cusay to "come vp" to join him, which he does.


What other reasons are there for believing Peele to have been the author of Titus Andronicus, Act 1? Dover Wilson summarized the work of earlier scholars and added some observations of his own. He listed parallels between Titus Andronicus and Shakespeare's plays and poems, and compiled an inventory of a dozen "common Shakespearean turns of speech," familiar to him from his editorial labours on the New Shakespeare series.[19] These afforded evidence of Shakespeare's presence in every scene but the first, which is full of verbal parallels to Peele's plays and to his poem The Honour of the Garter, written in the middle of 1593. Wilson, recording these parallels in his introduction and commentary, showed also that Peele's diction ("diadem," "gratulate," "re-salute," "gramercy," "panther," "remunerate," "gratify," "consecrate" for "consecrated," and so on) and his "clichés and tricks" of composition were prominent in Act 1 of Titus Andronicus. The tendency for speech after speech to begin with a vocative and continue with an imperative verb is especially marked in the first half of Titus Andronicus, Act 1, as in the opening scenes of Edward I and The Battle of Alcazar. And the same mechanical repetition of words and phrases occurs.

Maxwell added an argument from syntax. The construction in lines 5 — 6 of Saturninus' opening speech — "I am his first-born son that was the last / That ware the imperial diadem of Rome," where "his first-born son that" means "the first-born son of him who" — is unusually frequent in Act 1 of


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Titus Adronicus, appearing six or seven times as often as in the rest of the play, and Maxwell shows that in Peele's non-dramatic poetry it is also about six times as common as in Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His search of a fair number of contemporary plays revealed that the construction — a possessive adjective or pronoun as antecedent of a relative clause — "is common in Peele's later work, fairly common in Kyd and Marlowe, rare in Shakespeare, Greene and Lodge."[20] The incidence was also low in most of the anonymous plays that Maxwell examined. David and Bethsabe is the play by Peele with the largest number of examples of this syntactical mannerism. As Maxwell noted, the merits of his particular test as an indication of authorship are twofold: use of the device would seem to bear little or no relation to subject matter, and similar rates of usage are not likely to be due to conscious, or even unconscious, imitation by one author of another.

R. F. Hill surveyed the use of the rhetorical devices in Shakespeare's early plays, and found Titus Andronicus uncharacteristically sparing in its use of some figures (such as antimetabole, epanodis, symploche, epanalepsis, asyndeton, and brachiologia) and uncharacteristically prodigal in its use of others (such as certain forms of epizeuxis, chiasmus, and pleonasm).[21] He pointed out that alliteration, more frequent in Titus Andronicus than in other Shakespeare plays, was employed to excess in Act 1. Several of the oddities appear to be particularly prevalent in Act 1, and although comparative data are not available for Peele, he is easily seen to be partial to alliteration and to several of the most prominent of the tricks that Hill categorizes. Hill concluded that Titus Andronicus was either Shakespeare's first play or the work of more than one author.

Drawing on Spevack's Concordance, statistician Baron Brainerd sought lexical items whose frequencies in Shakespeare's plays covaried with chronology, in an attempt to calculate an "omnibus predictor" of date of composition.[22] Beginning with plays for which the dating is relatively uncontentious, he was able to combine variables into a fairly good predictor. A few plays, including Titus Andronicus, were "deviant" with respect to the variables tested. The plays found to fall into this category with Titus Andronicus were ones suspected to be of dual or multiple authorship or to have been subject to authorial revision at a later stage of Shakespeare's stylistic development.[23]


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In Studies in Attribution: Middleton and Shakespeare I investigated the rare-word vocabulary of Titus Andronicus in relation to a division of the play based objectively on the percentage of feminine endings per scene as these had been determined by earlier scholars.[24] A treatise by Philip W. Timberlake covering use of the feminine endings in all Elizabethan drama up to the year 1595 revealed that even in his earliest works Shakespeare tended to employ feminine endings at a higher rate than ever attained in the known plays of Greene, Peele, Nashe, Lyly, Lodge, or Marlowe.[25] The percentage of feminine endings in Titus Andronicus associates most scenes with Shakespeare rather than his early contemporaries, but for 1.1, 2.1, and 4.1 the figures are low. I noted that the scenes selected as doubtful on this metrical evidence and labelled "Part A" are deficient in other features that characterize the young Shakespeare's verse: for instance they have fewer compound adjectives and Shakespearean images than the rest of the play ("Part B"). The division into two "parts" was not intended to be hard-and-fast or to have any absolute validity; it was simply a means of testing the hypothesis that two "strata" existed. These might be authorial or chronological.

The investigation of vocabulary was confined to words that appeared in Titus Andronicus and once or twice in other Shakespeare plays. Nearly a century ago the German scholar Gregor Sarrazin had shown that such words most strongly linked plays composed at approximately the same time.[26] The rare-word links of Titus Andronicus Part B to Shakespeare plays of four successive chronological groups of about the same total size fell as follows: 37:26:19:23. As we should expect, links with the earliest group predominate. For Part A the figures were 33:9:8:8. They thus exhibit a far more extreme concentration of links with the earliest group. The difference between Parts A and B in the degree of concentration of links with the first group (33:25 compared with 37:68) is statistically significant, with odds of about a hundred to one that it is due to chance.[27] The indications are that Part A was written either some years before Part B or by a different author. The second alternative may seem the less likely. Would writing by other dramatists of the 1580s and early 1590s share with Shakespeare's own writing a tendency to be most strongly linked in its rare-word vocabulary to his first group of plays?


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The answer is that it might well do so. M. W. A. Smith and Hugh Calvert have tested Peele's Edward I and Greene's James IV and discovered that each exhibits just such a pattern.[28]

Marina Tarlinskaja's recent research into Shakespeare's verse would appear to confirm the presence of two strata in Titus Andronicus. Her main concern is with the extent to which each of the ten syllabic positions in the standard blank verse line is occupied by a stressed or unstressed syllable in accordance with the iambic paradigm. She finds that for different "ictic" or "non-ictic" positions the degree to which theoretical expectations are realized changes throughout Shakespeare's career so as to create consistent chronological trends. Most of the metrical details with which she is concerned would associate Titus Andronicus with I Henry VI as the earliest of Shakespeare's plays. But certain features of Part A are unmatched in the canon before Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V. So while on the theory of Shakespeare's sole authorship the vocabulary evidence would place Part A appreciably earlier than Part B, some of Tarlinskaja's metrical evidence would place Part A appreciably later than Part B. The contradiction might be resolved on a theory of dual authorship. Tarlinskaja herself speculates that Shakespeare may have written Part A at a time when his metrical practices had not yet stabilized, but she "is really tempted to attribute 'Titus' to two different authors."[29]

Tarlinskaja's findings were published too late to be taken into account by Eugene Waith, who did, however, consider and dismiss the implications of my vocabulary data. Quoting in his edition of Titus Andronicus a letter from Gary Taylor in 1981, he objected that the three scenes comprising my Part A "are linked by no narrative or formal logic, and that dramatic collaboration almost always involved a division of the plot along some obvious logical lines" (p. 17). But, as Taylor recognized by 1987 in his essay on "Canon and Chronology" in the Oxford Textual Companion, in the Quarto of 1594 Act 1 and the first scene of Act 2 (as they are in most modern editions) form a single uninterrupted scene, which initiates the action, while 4.1 initiates the counter action. "The division suggested by feminine endings is thus compatible with patterns of collaboration in the drama of the period" (p. 114).

At any rate, a significant disparity, in vocabulary and metre, would remain if we were to redefine Part A, reducing it (by about one-third) to the first Act alone, and my remarks on further "unShakespearean" or "Peelean"


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features in Titus Andronicus will focus on this, the most suspect portion of the play. Rates of occurrence of high-frequency function words have been proven to be useful indicators of authorship.[30] Spevack's concordance furnishes information about these. He gives rates for every word in every play, these being expressed as percentages of the total number of words (of "tokens," that is, not "types"). For all thirty-eight plays, including The Two Noble Kinsmen, the rates for and, which is the second most common word in the canon after the, vary from 2.398 for The Two Gentlemen of Verona to 3.844 for Titus Andronicus. The mean rate per play is 2.998 and the standard deviation is 0.387. Titus Andronicus is the only play for which the rate is more than two standard deviations from the mean.[31] Act 1, in which the rate for and rises to 4.809, is chiefly responsible for the anomalously high rate of the play as a whole. If it is excluded, the rate for Titus Andronicus becomes 3.556, well within the normal range of two standard deviations from the mean for a Shakespeare play. The disparity between Act 1 and Acts 2 — 5 is highly significant, statistically speaking. The odds are less than one in a thousand that it is a chance phenomenon — which is not to say that dual authorship is the only possible explanation.[32] In its rate of use of with, Titus Andronicus again falls at the end of the range of Shakespeare's plays, and again Act 1 is chiefly responsible. The average for the Shakespeare plays is 0.878, the standard deviation 0.113. Titus Andronicus, with a rate of 1.136 is the sole play to fall outside two standard deviations from the mean.[33] For Act 1 the rate is 1.282, while the rest of the play, at 1.103, would just fall within the normal range.[34] This time the difference between Act 1 and Acts 2 — 5 is not statistically significant, but Act 1 is especially anomalous.

Would the rates for and and with in Titus Andronicus, Act 1, be inconsistent with Peele's practices? Computerized counts of the opening scene or scenes of Edward I, The Battle of Alcazar, and David and Bethsabe — amounting to roughly two thousand words from each play — give some basis for an answer.[35] For these three samples the rates for and are 3.872, 5.314, and 4.329;


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for with they are 1.518, 1.213, and 1.644. All six of these rates are, like those for Act 1 of Titus Andronicus, outside the normal Shakespeare range. In combination the three Peele samples yield a rate for and (4.517) a little lower than that of Titus Andronicus, Act 1, and a rate for with (1.453) a little higher. Peele therefore shows the same partiality for and and with that distinguishes Act 1 of Titus Andronicus from the rest of the Shakespeare canon.

Less arid than these statistics are some details concerning a trick of style that recurs conspicuously in Act 1 of Titus Andronicus and is found in the very first line: "Noble patricians, patrons of my right." This is the ending of a blank verse line with a preposition or conjunction, followed by a possessive pronoun plus a monosyllabic noun, as in "of my right," "with your swords," "to our foes," "of his name," "and his sons." The formula, usually preceded by a two-syllable word stressed on its first syllable, produces a pyrrhic foot followed by a foot that is some way between an iamb and a spondee; alternatively, one might say that each successive syllable carries marginally more stress than the one before it, but only the last of the four is strongly stressed. The rate of occurrence in Titus Andronicus, Act 1, is one in every 12.7 lines.[36] In the rest of the play it is one in every 24.7 lines. The odds are less than one in a thousand that this disparity is a matter of chance.[37] Counts for the opening Acts of Shakespeare's eight other earliest plays yield the following rates: one in 22.8 for The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one in 37.3 for The Taming of the Shrew (ignoring the Induction), one in 20.6 for 2 Henry VI, one in 19.3 for 3 Henry VI, one in 21.9 for I Henry VI, one in 24.0 for Richard III, one in 17.6 for The Comedy of Errors, and one in 34.8 for Love's Labour's Lost (where the first Act is very short). The total for all eight plays furnishes a rate of one in 22.8, which is close to that for Titus Andronicus, Acts 2 — 5. Each of the four Acts of Peele's David and Bethsabe provides a similar match to the first Act of Titus Andronicus: one in 13.6, 10.8, 12.2, and 8.3 of the full pentameter lines end in the "of my right" kind of formula; the overall rate for the play being one in 11.2. It is more difficult to calculate figures for Edward I, in which many scenes consist mainly of prose or rhymed verse, much of it doggerel, but for blank verse speeches the rate is about one in 13.2. In addition, many lines end in phrases such as "on the way" and "at the name," where the definite article substitutes for the possessive pronoun. Although both the "from his flesh" and "on the ground" sorts of line ending are quite common in The Battle of Alcazar, the percentages are within the normal Shakespearean range.


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There is, then, quite a variety of evidence for supposing Titus Andronicus to be the handiwork of more than one author, and for attributing Act 1, in particular, to George Peele. The best case against reaching this conclusion has been made by Marco Mincoff in Shakespeare: The First Steps (Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1976), pp. 112 — 137 and 210 — 213. Mincoff concedes that the style of the opening scenes of Titus Andronicus "does seem to warrant some suspicions" and that "many of Peele's more obvious mannerisms do appear with considerable frequency, especially in the first act," but finds that the verse lacks Peele's "very typical sentence structure with its relative clauses and appositional phrases often piled three deep." He adds that the Peelean mannerisms "extend, often enough, into passages that are obviously Shakespeare's, and it is impossible to divide the play sharply between two utterly different styles" (pp. 113 — 114). This last difficulty was also acknowledged by Hill, who noted that the anomalous features with which he was concerned were not strongly correlated in their incidence, so that they failed to combine to distinguish particular scenes from others as clearly as an upholder of the theory of dual authorship might wish, though oddities did tend to congregate within Act 1. My own tests, which show Act 1 to be most markedly differentiated from the bulk of the play, but which are inconclusive about whether to associate 2.1 and 4.1 with Act 1 or the remainder, register the same ambiguity. Mincoff's view is that Shakespeare had "many of Peele's more marked cadences running in his mind" (p. 114), and that whether consciously or unconsciously he adopted elements of Peele's style, being particularly susceptible in his writing of the formal first Act, with its set speeches and orations. He shows that in the tightness of its plotting Titus Andronicus represents an advance even on Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, and feels it can hardly be coincidental that the backbone of the repertory of Strange's Men (the "Earl of Derby's" servants listed first on the 1594 quarto title page among companies to have performed Titus) was The Spanish Tragedy, Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, and Peele's The Battle of Alcazar, Kyd's play having been decisive in the shaping of Titus, Marlowe's providing hints for the figure of Aaron, and Peele's, along with his other plays, influencing the style. He supposes that Shakespeare wrote Titus Andronicus for Strange's Men in 1592, or a little before, having joined the troupe as an actor.

The notion that Shakespeare, having as an actor assimilated the verse dialogue of other playwrights and deciding to experiment with Senecan tragedy, began Titus Andronicus by modelling his style on Peele's has a superficial plausibility, and would certainly account for the play's mixture of Peelean and Shakespearean quirks of style. But it would not be surprising, either, if collaboration between Peele and Shakespeare, or the revision of one dramatist's script by the other, were to create such a stylistic mix. When two authors combine in the composition of a play, it is not uncommon


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for some mutual adjustment to take place, so that the style of each is a little less individual than in his unassisted works, even to the point where something akin to a third authorial personality materializes. And it is doubtful whether a theory of "single authorship plus imitation" can adequately explain all the unusual features of Act 1 of Titus Andronicus that have been detailed here. It can hardly account, for example, for the contradiction between the extreme earliness of Part A's vocabulary, as far as links with the Shakespeare canon are concerned, and the comparative lateness, in terms of the development of Shakespeare's blank verse, of some of its metrical characteristics (which are themselves hard to reconcile with the low proportion of lines with feminine endings); or the many verbal parallels that Wilson found between Titus Andronicus (especially Act 1) and Peele's poem The Honour of the Garter, written in the summer of 1593. The exceptionally high rates of usage of and and with might conceivably have arisen as a natural byproduct of an attempt by Shakespeare to imitate Peele's style. But Act 1's Peelean stage directions and speech prefixes hardly seem likely to have resulted from any form of imitation. There is complete consensus among editors and textual scholars that the 1594 Quarto was set from a pre-theatrical script in the author's (or authors') own hand. Why should Shakespeare — who, according to Mincoff's theory, had already composed several plays and seen them performed — adopt Peele's idiosyncrasies in the use of stage directions that serve as speech prefixes, and the like, and do so within Act 1 of Titus Andronicus alone? On the whole the presence in the early portion of the play of so many different features that are atypical of Shakespeare and typical of Peele is most plausibly explained as the legacy of Peele's having actually written Act 1 at least.

There can be no doubt that in its overall structure Titus Andronicus bears the stamp of Shakespeare rather than Peele, and much of the writing is more like the early Shakespeare's than anybody else's. Probably no single other playwright at work before the play's publication was capable of such a remarkable achievement. The argument for Peele's involvement put forward here is not motivated by any inclination, like Ravenscroft's, to vilify the play. Peele was Shakespeare's senior, and not incompetent, though the younger dramatist certainly had something to teach him about plotting, and was already a much better poet. I can think of only one way in which the case for Peele's participation in Titus Andronicus might be clinched, and that is by means of an exhaustive examination of verbal parallels. The use of "parallels" in matters of disputed authorship has grown into disfavour, because of the gross misuse of such evidence in the past. The key to its convincing use is exhaustiveness. If a concordance to all Peele's writing were available, it would be possible to check Titus Andronicus line by line and even word by word for collocations and more extensive parallels of phrasing and thought first with Peele and then with Shakespeare. On the theory that Act 1 is substantially Peele's, parallels with Peele's known works should predominate there and parallels with the Shakespeare canon predominate in the rest of the play. Such an investigation might help settle the status of


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2.1 and 4.1 as well. If Shakespeare incorporated a considerable amount of dialogue by Peele into Titus Andronicus or the two dramatists worked together on the script, that is an important detail of English dramatic history. In an age of theory there is still a place for attempts to determine the facts.[38]



Thomas Ravenscroft, Titus Andronicus, or the Rape, of Lavinia . . . A Tragedy Alter'd from Mr Shakespears Works (1687), address to the reader; reprinted in Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage: Volume 1 1623 — 1692, ed. Brian Vickers (1974), p. 239.


The Plays of William Shakespeare, ed. Samuel Johnson (1765); reprinted in Vickers, Critical Heritage: Volume 5 1765 — 1774, p. 142.


T. S. Eliot, Elizabethan Dramatists (1963 edn.), p. 31.


Titus Andronicus, ed. John Dover Wilson (1948), pp. vii — lxv.


Titus Andronicus, ed. J. C. Maxwell (1953), p. xxxiii.


Titus Adronicus, ed. Eugene M. Waith (1984), p. 20.


Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author," Image-Music-Text, trans. Stephen Heath (1977), pp. 145 — 147.


Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia: Wit's Treasury (1598); reprinted in E. K. Chambers, William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems (1930), 2, 193 — 195.


Wilson, Titus Andronicus, p. xxv.


There is a very full discussion of Q Titus Andronicus as a "foul papers" text by Stanley Wells in his Re-Editing Shakespeare for the Modern Reader (1984), pp. 79 — 125.


W. W. Greg, The Shakespeare First Folio (1955), p. 137.


The specified period is from the opening of the first London public theatre (The Theatre) to the closing of all theatres by the Puritans. My confidence about the rarity of the "others as many as can/may be" formula derives from the presence at Tokyo Gakugei University of an electronic data-base into which stage directions from almost all available plays listed in the Schoenbaum-Harbage Annals have been entered. I am extremely grateful to Professor Yasumada Okamoto and to Mr Yukio Kato for supplying me with relevant information. At the time when they ran computer checks for me, they had entered 508 of the 583 plays of 1576 — 1642 that are listed in the chronological table in The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama, ed. A. R. Braunmuller and Michael Hattaway (1990), pp. 419 — 446, which omits entertainments, pageants, masques, school plays, and Latin academic plays. I have made some attempt to check plays not yet in the data-base. A further 133 plays outside my chronological limits had been entered, and none exhibited the Peelean formula.


The matter is discussed by Wells, Re-Editing, pp. 83 — 84.


I have worked with The Norton Facsimile: The First Folio of Shakespeare, ed. Charlton Hinman (1968); Shakespeare's Plays in Quarto, ed. Michael J. B. Allen and Kenneth Muir (1981); and Marvin Spevack, A Complete and Systematic Concordance to the Works of Shakespeare: Volume 7: Stage Directions and Speech-Prefixes (1975). References to the Folio (F) and the quartos (Q) or octavo (O) are by signature. Act and scene numbers are those of The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. blakemore Evans (1974).


The verb "say" and its inflexions can be checked in Spevack's Concordance. Seeming instances turn out to be references to Lord Say.


For Peele's plays I have used copies of the original quartos in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, but in interpreting stage directions and speech prefixes and determining where prefixes have not been used I have been guided by the four-volume Yale edition of The Life and Works of George Peele, general ed. Charles Tyler Prouty (1952 — 1970).


There are also two or three directions ending in ". . . speaketh" but followed by a speech heading.


Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor with John Jowett and William Montgomery, William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion (1987), p. 210 (note on


Wilson, Titus Andronicus, pp. xxiii-xxv.


J. C. Maxwell, "Peele and Shakespeare: A Stylometric Test," Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 49 (1950), 557 — 561; summarized in Maxwell's Arden edition, pp. xxx — xxxi.


R. F. Hill, "The Composition of Titus Andronicus," Shakespeare Survey, 10 (1957), 60 — 70. Hill draws on the much fuller treatment in his Oxford B.Litt. thesis (1954), "Shakespeare's Use of Formal Rhetoric in his Early Plays up to 1596."


Baron Brainerd, "The Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays: A Statistical Study," Computers and the Humanities, 14 (1980), 221 — 230.


The other "deviant" plays were the three Parts of Henry VI, Pericles, and Love's Labour's Lost. Questions of revision or plural authorship in these plays have not, of course, been settled; John Kerrigan, "Love's Labour's Lost and Shakespearean Revision," Shakespeare Quarterly, 33 (1982), 337 — 339, argues against revision in Love's Labour's Lost.


MacD. P. Jackson, Studies in Attribution: Middleton and Shakespeare (1979), pp. 148 — 158.


Philip W. Timberlake, The Feminine Ending in English Blank Verse (1931).


G. Sarrazin, "Wortechos bei Shakespeare," Shakespeare Jahrbuch, 33 (1897), 121 — 165, and 34 (1898), 119 — 169.


When a chi-square test is used to compare the observed figures 33:25 and 37:68 with those expected on a purely proportional basis, the result is chi-square = 7.04, 1 degree of freedom (or 6.31, 1 d.f., with Yates's correction). There is a description of the chi-square test in Anthony Kenny, The Computation of Style: An Introduction to Statistics for Students of Literature and the Humanities (1982), pp. 110 — 119. Of course, strictly speaking, the test is valid only if the prediction has been made in advance that Part A will differ from Part B in respect of the proportion of links with the first group of plays. A chi-square test that simply compares the two sets of four figures (37:26:19:23 and 33:9:8:8) yields a result that falls short of statistical significance: chi-square = 7.3, 3 d.f.


M. W. A. Smith and Hugh Calvert, "Word-Links as a General Indicator of Chronology of Composition," Notes and Queries, 234 (1989), 338 — 341. Smith and Calvert worked with words found up to ten times in Shakespeare's dramatic canon, as did Eliot Slater in his research into vocabulary and chronology.


Marina Tarlinskaja, Shakespeare's Verse: Iambic Pentameter and the Poet's Idiosyncrasies (1987), p. 124. Tarlinskaja divides Titus Andronicus into "Group 1" scenes and "Group 2" scenes. Her Group 1 is identical with my Part A, except that I omitted the very short 2.2. I explore the implications of her findings in "Another Metrical Index for Shakespeare's Plays: Evidence for Chronology and Authorship," Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 95 (1994), 453 — 458.


See Textual Companion, pp. 80 — 89. The most rigorous research on high-frequency words in English Renaissance drama has been reported by M. W. A. Smith in a series of articles in Computers and the Humanities, The Journal of Literary and Linguistic Computing, Notes and Queries, and elsewhere, beginning in the early 1980s. Smith's "Forensic Stylometry: A Theoretical Basis for Further Developments of Practical Methods," Journal of the Forensic Science Society, 29 (1989), 15 — 33, provides a mathematical validation of his procedures.


2 SD range = 2.225 — 3.771.


The odds are reckoned as follows: We can form a 2 x 2 contingency table of (a) occurrences of and and (b) occurrences of other words in (c) Act 1 and (d) Acts 2 — 5, where "a" and "b" are the rows and "c" and "d" the columns, and apply a chi-square test, using Yates's correction. Chi-square = 11.273 for 1 degree of freedom, p < 0.001. For 2.1 the rate of and is also very high, 4.512; for 4.1 it is normal, but there is certainly a highly significant disparity between Parts A and B in toto, as originally defined.


2 SD range = 0.653 — 1.104.


For 2.1 the rate is 1.105 and for 4.1 it is 0.972, so that a notable disparity would remain if we were to revert to our original lines of demarcation between Parts A and B.


Working from the modern-spelling edition, The Dramatic and Poetical Works of Robert Greene and George Peele, ed. Alexander Dyce (1874), I keyed text into the computer until approximately two thousand words had been accumulated and a scene end had been reached. The analysis was carried out by means of the Micro-OCP concordance programme.


Figures are based on Maxwell's Arden edition for Titus Andronicus, on the Riverside Shakespeare for other Shakespeare plays, and on Dyce's Works for Peele's plays.


The calculation is based on chi-square testing of a 2 x 2 contingency table of (a) iambic pentameter lines ending with the "of my right" formula and (b) iambic pentameter lines not ending with the formula in (c) Act 1 and (d) the rest of the play.


Since this article was completed confirmation of its findings has come from two sources. "The Shakespeare Clinic" run by Ward Elliott and Robert Valenza of Claremont McKenna College has released a report entitled "Matching Shakespeare, 1994: Computer Testing of Elizabethan Texts for Common Authorship with Shakespeare" (June 21, 1994; and Supplement, July 15, 1994). Elliott and his associates have applied a battery of tests to texts by Shakespeare and by a fair range of his contemporaries. They show that all the plays traditionally accepted into the Shakespeare canon pass as Shakespearean on all or all-but-one of nineteen computerized tests — that is, the plays are consistent with one another, within statistically acceptable limits — except for those considered collaborations by the Oxford Shakespeare (I Henry VI, Timon of Athens, Pericles, Henry VIII, and The Two Noble Kinsmen) and Titus Andronicus and 3 Henry VI, each of which is recognized by the Oxford Textual Companion as possibly collaborative. The failure of Titus to meet the Shakespearean norms is particularly marked. The play as a whole is rejected by five tests, and a stratum that is labelled (probably misleadingly) "early," that includes Act 1, and that roughly corresponds to my "Part A" is largely responsible for the anomalous results: it is rejected by no fewer than seven tests, while the other stratum is rejected by only two. Further, in "Common Words in Titus Andronicus: The Presence of Peele," forthcoming in Notes and Queries, Brian Boyd re-examines and quantifies the evidence of formulaic repetition of common words in the suspect parts of Titus and in Peele, and assigns to Peele the bulk of 1.1 — 2.2 and 4.1.