Shakespearean March Madness: Quarterfinals, Part 2

Winnowing the field even further, I present the results of the Round of Sixteen, Part 2: Titus Andronicus takes out Joan of Arc with Roman efficiency (35-19). Somehow, Prospero manages to edge out Hotspur in one of our closest matches so far, 25-23. Maybe he revived Glendower and called in some extra magical aid. In our battle of the heroes, the good Macduff falls to the military prowess of Henry V (33-17). Finally, Macbeth, Bellona’s bridegroom, takes the victory over Coriolanus (35-14). These victories give us the final two matches of the Quarterfinals:

Quarterfinal 3: Titus Andronicus vs Prospero

Who wins the battle?

  • Titus Andronicus
  • Prospero

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Quarterfinal 4: Henry V vs Macbeth

Who wins the battle?

  • Henry V
  • Macbeth

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My picks: Titus and Hal. I think there’s no contest in Quarterfinal 3, but then I’ve thought Prospero should’ve been out since Round 1. Some of you who keep voting for him need to tell me why I should think better of his combat skills than I do. However much of a Cinderella story he’s been so far, I think his time is up. Sarah is telling me that he has grace and shows mercy, which makes him a better person than Titus, sure, but that isn’t going to protect him against a ruthless, half-mad killer. Titus goes for the throat whereas Prospero pulls his punches, however magical those punches may be, and at this stage in the game, it’s time to go for the jugular. Henry versus Macbeth is a bit tougher for me, because these are both heavyweight hitters. Ultimately, though, I pick Henry V, because while Macbeth is great when it comes to subterfuge and sneaking around, Hal’s spent his share of time skulking about in the dark as well, so I don’t think Macbeth would be able to use the cover of darkness to get the drop on him — and when it comes to pitching open battle in the light of day, no one does it better than the hero-king.

Think I’m wrong? Tell me why! These polls will be open until Tuesday, and you still have until Monday to vote on Richard vs Lady Macbeth and Iago vs Margaret. Help decide who advances to the Final Four, and who pays the ultimate price for failure.

5 thoughts on “Shakespearean March Madness: Quarterfinals, Part 2

  1. Prospero has grace and shows mercy, to be certain, but he can also afford to, while Titus can't. You can say that Titus is a half-crazed murderer, but so was Caliban at heart. I think one of the things lost in the comedy is that Caliban is a truly evil person who, given the option, would happily kill Prospero, yet his schemes never come to fruition. I don't think Prospero would hesitate to kill Titus Andronicus if it were necessary. Yes, he spared the royal family, but what of all the sailors dashed in his storm? If I recall correctly, no mention is made of their survival, and I believe it is because it would un-balance things out of Prospero's favor, and he knows that, so he does away with them. He only spares his enemies because he has shown them how utterly at his mercy they are, and he has more to gain by sparing them than by slaying them. Titus has no such boon.I also believe that Macbeth could take Henry V. He wouldn't have to use the cover of shadow, but merely a word spoken in confidence. Are they so different, these grand leaders? Establishing their similarities, both real and feigned, Macbeth gains his confidence, if only for a moment. In that moment, victory is only a casual thrust away.

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  2. Ahhh, but Prospero *does* spare all — he first tells Miranda "I have with such provision in mine art / So safely ordered that there is no soul– / No, not so much perdition as an hair / Betid to any creature in the vessel / Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink" — and then the boatswain et al appear at the end of the play, with the boat, to take everyone back home. Prospero does have a care for innocent bystanders — Titus doesn't.You make an interesting argument about the idea of a boon, but I still just don't think Prospero has the chops for this sort of no-holds-barred match. He doesn't have the bloodthirst in his soul in the way that Titus does.

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  3. But I would purpose a counter to that bloodthirst: Titus is just thinking about killing. Prospero, on the other hand, thinks about so much more. He can plan and plot and adapt on the fly with ease. Titus, on the other hand, enacts a plan that leaves everyone but one of his sons dead, including himself, and ultimately accomplishes nothing, as the intervention of Lucius was not planned. He is so caught up in the idea of the kill that he can't think rationally.There is also the fact that Titus rarely if ever kills in any sort of fair fight. Yes, he is a general and so must have some experience with arms and combat, but notice that almost all of his murders are made against bound or otherwise physically helpless targets. Prospero, on the other hand, possesses a sword and is hinted towards once owning an army, so it can be assumed he also has some experience with combat training, and has his magic on his side. In any sort of pitched combat, Prospero is the clear winner, and it would be nearly impossible for Titus to sneak up on him.I must admit it's been a bit since I played Prospero, so the context of that line escapes me, but isn't that only after Miranda pleads with him for the lives of the sailors? Even then, we don't see the sailors again throughout the play, so at the least he is capable of detaining a vast number of people for an indefinite period of time. This leads me to believe that even if he can't kill Titus, even if for some reason his sensibilities prevent it, could he not simply pull "Morgan le-Fay/Merlin" gambit and trap him somewhere for eternity? I think it is also worth noting that Prospero's enemies had previously spared his life. Prospero is painted as a just and fair man, while Titus is a mad killer. I see no reason why Prospero would hesitate to kill him, there is a distinct difference between repaying the debt of spared life, and an inability to kill.

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