"Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand

Blood and revenge are hammering in my head," …

The United States has won some measure of revenge in the 10 years since 9/11. But as in Shakespeare’s bloodthirsty play Titus Andronicus, has the cost been too great?


Thank you for coming," Prof. David Kastan told the half-full auditorium. "You did not have to be here this morning. I did. It means the world to me that you came." I looked around at my fellow classmates; we were all tired and dazed. The night before, the acrid, unforgettable smell of melted steel, atomized concrete, and human remains had drifted seven miles north, from southern Manhattan up to Columbia University’s campus.  

It was Sept. 13, 2001, and I was 21 years old. Two days earlier, I had walked into Kastan’s Shakespeare class before the attacks began and walked out after the second tower had already fallen. Columbia canceled classes for two days. I spent my time at the daily student newspaper, the Spectator, where I was managing editor. On Thursday morning, the first class back was Shakespeare.

"I will not make a political statement today," Kastan continued. "But I will say this: This play we will discuss today is about revenge — and what demanding revenge can do to a person. I only hope that the people who will be making decisions on how to respond to Tuesday’s attacks read Titus Andronicus."

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