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Opinion: William Shakespeare is too gory for some Cambridge University students. Sharon Griffiths is rather puzzled...
Now Shakespeare comes with trigger warnings….Students at Cambridge University are now advised in lecture notes that Titus Andronicus – a particularly gory play - could be 'distressing.'
Well, yes, but not half as distressing as some modern crime novels which seem to revel in graphic descriptions of particularly sadistic murders, usually of women. Amazing what we read for fun. You really wouldn't want to be inside some writers' heads.
We have a strange approach to the grim and gory. We've sanitised children's stories so they don't get nightmares – fairy stories used to be MUCH more cruel - yet in two weeks' time children will be rampaging the streets with axes in their heads, hideous scars on their faces and blood apparently gushing freely.
Even as I used to help my sons look particularly terrifying it always struck me that this was all slightly strange… Maybe it helps them laugh at death. Maybe it just scares them witless. Either way, it's a lot more interesting then apple-bobbing.
The reasons for this upsurge in blood, gore and cruelty is worth an academic study in itself – but only, of course, if students didn't find it too distressing…