Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 August 2010
That Shakespeare had some share in the composition of this revolting tragedy, the fact of its appearance in the list of pieces ascribed to him by Meres, and its insertion by Heminge and Condell in the folio collection of 1623, forbids us to doubt. He may, in the dawning of his dramatic career, have written a few of the speeches, and have imparted vigour and more rhythmical freedom to others; he may have been instrumental also in putting the piece upon the stage of the company to which he then belonged; but that he had any hand in the story, or in its barbarous characters and incidents, we look upon as in the highest degree improbable. Upon this point, indeed, all his editors, from Rowe to Dyce, with the exception of Capell, Collier, and Knight, appear to be of one mind.
“On what principle the editors of the first complete edition of our poet's plays admitted this [Titus Andronicus] into their volume cannot now be ascertained. The most probable reason that can be assigned, is, that he wrote a few lines in it, or gave some assistance to the author in revising it, or in some other way aided him in bringing it forward on the stage. The tradition mentioned by Ravenscroft in the time of King James II. warrants us in making one or other of these suppositions.