I have been reading the plays of Shakespeare, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, now Richard III, but it is Titus Andronicus that has stuck with me, most particularly the tragic Lavinia. It is such a terrible and bloody tale that I would rather not revisit it yet I feel compelled to somehow honor Lavinia. To capture the brutal chaos that was her life. The following, a spontaneously dashed off acrylic painting on canvas is one attempt.
acrylic on canvas
16 by 20 inches
I wanted to avoid the obvious ( and seductive) bloody approach; instead I focused on her claustrophobic impotence, the pawn of so many men. And although there is tenderness shown towards Lavinia and empathy for her plight, as when her uncle,Marcus Andronicus, after her terrible rape and mutilation attempts to soothe her with:
“Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee:
O,could our mourning ease thy misery!”
Act II 4, 56-57
There is this tenderness, this paternal, fraternal love yet she has no say-literally. And in the end, well the end , how does one deal with it all?
She haunts me, this sketch I made just last night before I went to bed.
I’m toying with the idea of making a hand puppet , perhaps. I also wouldn’t mind not thinking about it.