The reader can see the early development of some of Shakespeare’s most iconic themes in Titus Andronicus. The play’s pages are rife with brutality, corruption, revenge, and death. A cycle of death that is prompted by a war between the Romans and Goths and how death continues to wreak havoc in Rome after the war is over. Although Tamora and her sons’ vengeance seems to direct the actions of the play, Aaron is the one who orchestrates the calamity of Titus’ family. Aaron proudly identifies as the devil and exclaims that his soul is as black as his skin; he embraces the label set on him by Roman society, yet being an outcast may have turned him into that proud devil (Shakespeare). In Titus Andronicus, the reader meets Aaron at moments where he shows concern and distress for his son’s future, humanizing him in the process and making Aaron a complex antagonist. Although Aaron is a cruel character, the abuse he takes from Roman society molds him into a sympathetic, multi-dimensional character.
Titus Andronicus begins with Rome defeating the Goths in a ten-year war and returning home with the Goth Queen Tamora, the moor servant Aaron, and Tamora’s sons Alarbus, Chiron, and Demetrius as captives. Titus lost twenty-one of his sons in battle, and he sacrifices Alarbus for the death of his sons despite Tamora’s pleas. When Saturninus takes Tamora as his new fiancé over Lavinia, Tamora plots the downfall of the Andronicus family; Titus kills one of his sons for defending the marriage
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Titus Andronicus is a play renowned for its bloodshed and human suffering. Shakespeare’s strategic use of diction, literary devices such as alliteration and rhyme heightens the dark ambiance. The dark and lifeless images which pervade Tamora’s monologue explores the breakdown of human goodness and familial relations and loyalty. Titus Andronicus demonstrates the dangerous force of vengeance. Furthermore, Shakespeare’s underscores the complexity of gender roles that can impede female liberties through enduring patriarchal societal values who elevates a prudent woman over the ‘wildly’ lustful woman susceptible to her sexual appetite.
Race is abundant in Titus Andronicus. Aaron is a Moor from Northern Africa, making him one of Shakespeare’s first main character of color. Even though the term racism wasn’t created until 1902 (Demby), through Aaron the audience gets a glimpse of how people were racially treated in the Elizabethan Era.
In the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar the main character, Brutus, experiences many things that lead him to become a tragic hero. From the interactions between Cassius and Brutus, the two characters contract each other, Brutus’s character develops into a tragic hero, and the plot advances and a theme is also created.
Bastard, a child born out of wedlock, an illegitimate descendant that "deserves to be slapped." Don John, coined as “Shakespeare’s most passive villain” is plagued by the society of Messina that rejected him from the very moment of birth. Looking through the idea of predetermined roles in life, we can come to realize the roots of Don John’s agitation arises from his illegitimacy, stacking him at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Here he feels obliged to act the part of the villain, delegated by his very own blood.
Some say revenge is a dish best served cold, but in Titus Andronicus this dish is served piping hot and bloody. One of the literary themes presented is critical disability study. Critical disability is when somebody stands out from the norm. One study talks about being socially disabled and not being able to fit in with the rest of the group in the story. Another study talks about the definition of normality, and how those who don’t fit into that category affect the story as a whole. Another story talks about how being disabled in a certain way acts as a catalyst for a character and fuels their actions from then on. In Titus Andronicus each of these forms of critical disability are present. Titus and Lavinia are both crippled in a multitude of ways physically. However, there are other characters who have a disability that cripples them; Aaron the Moor, Tamora queen of the goths, and Saturninus the Emperor. They are crippled in different ways through their views and actions. These crippled characters are a major part of the story. If they were not present or the things that crippled them were not present then the story would not be viewed in the same light.
Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus demonstrates how aggressive challenges and divisions are born out of conflicting belief systems. For example, because the Roman citizens, the Goths, and Aaron the Moor all differ in matters of consciousness, tension ensues. Nicholas Moschovakis comments extensively about these clashes in his essay ““Irreligious Piety” and Christian History: Persecution as Pagan Anachronism in Titus Andronicus,” and Moschovakis not only magnifies persecution, but he remarks extensively about the major elements in Titus Andronicus that can be understood as anachronistic. While Moschovakis carefully and thoroughly observes the Shakespearean realms of violent “human sacrifice,” the “relevance of Judeo-Christian sacrificial
Dr. Alistair Brown’s article discusses humanity’s amazing ability to make violence entertaining. Dr. Brown suspect’s laughter is a defense mechanism activated when a moment is too horrific. He also believes how and why the death of a character occurs will determine the audiences emotional response. What’s most uncomfortable about Titus Andronicus is the really terrifying, brutal, and monstrous deeds done happen in real life. Dr. Brown addresses Lavinia’s rape, Chiron and Demetrius’ violent acts, Aaron’s sly self-loyalty, racism, and clashing beliefs against Taymor’s ancient/modern Rome, and believes this is a metaphor for violence and its lack of respect for time. Our responsibility as the audience is to figure out whether or not the acts
The play Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare depicts the Roman Empire from a very traditional perspective within each of the characters. Shakespeare creates a visual of historical Rome that includes many blood battles, deception, courage and loyalty not just to Rome and her people, but to one 's family. By doing this, Shakespeare shows the reader that Rome was a great city of power that revolved around the idea that justice must be of an equivalent manner suitable to the crime committed by the other party. The word "Rome", both historically and in modern times, is often defined as being the perfect model for an advanced civilization, and many looked upon Rome and Romans as being "examples of excellence for architecture and political advances within a society". ("Rome", OED Online). The word "Rome" is seen frequently throughout the play and is used by almost all of the characters. It is a word that describes what Roman civilization entails and how the city of Rome can be a very dark and cruel city. The Roman characters in particular describe the two main concepts of "Rome" and "Roman" by means of traditional birth-right and traditional forms of justice. Both meanings are seen frequently amongst each Roman character. By fully understanding why particular events in the play occur and being able to see the traditional aspects of the word "Rome" among each character, it aids the reader in understanding how the play revolves around the historical context of Roman values of
Their antisocial behavior shows how failure they are, and how they do not learn from their experiences. Richard is a white character who is from a royal family. His motivation for being a king makes him violent and bloody character. Richard kills anyone who runs for the throne. Richard’s mind explores his evil personality, and his deeds reflect his sophisticated and complicated behavior. He is unconscious that his antisocial behavior could lead him to his perdition. On the other hand, Shakespeare creates Aaron as a black character whose motivation represents his evil personality. Aron’s motivation is to make Tamora's dream of revenge to a real dream. At the end of the play, Aron admits that he has a hand in all the crimes that happened to Titus’s family, and he does not feel guilty for his deeds. Aaron has been shown as “untruthfulness, insincerity and lack of remorse or shame.”(705). He
"Titus Andronicus" by William Shakespeare, is a play full of murders, miseries and heinous deeds, whose "chief architect" (Shakespeare 5.3.121) for the most part, if not all, was Aaron the Moor. The audience of the play would be so quick to rule Aaron as a purely evil character, the most evil of all the other characters. However, a deeper analysis of Aaron shows that despite his villainy, he still has a human side which he shows towards his son, and that his dark skin has made him a victim of racism, which might have influenced his character, and developed his evil nature that he enjoys. Aaron's status is more complicated than just purely evil, and on the whole, he can be a sympathetic character.
All the persons Shakespeare depicts in Titus are two dimensional, either good or bad. The dividing line falls between those who support Titus, the tragic warrior hero, and those on the side of Tamora, the evil Queen-empress. The former are noble and selfless, demonstrating roman pietas, while the latter are ignoble and selfish. In Jack E. Reese's essay, The Formalization of Horror in Titus Andronicus, he makes the point that Tamora and her sons' allegorical dressing-up as "Revenge, Murder, and Rapine can be viewed as a symbol of the characterization of the entire work" (Horror 79). In this scene, they are as they are, the symbol is exactly the same as the person. The only two characters who might be said to escape the dichotomy are Titus and Aaron the Moor. In Rome, Titus "sacrifices" both his son and his daughter, says Miola, "on the alter of his own personal honor" (Family 67). It is fair to say that personal honor is his concern in killing his offspring, for Mutius represents shameful filial disobedience (or mutiny) and Lavinia represents his inability to protect her and is a reminder of a shameful act done not only to her, but to her whole Andronici family too. It
The two major characters, Hamlet and Titus of Shakespearean plays, Hamlet and Titus Andronicus are characteristic in terms of considering revenge and aspiring to avenge the murders. However, the two are quite different in their approach toward revenge. This is due to the fact that two protagonist in their respective plays consider revenge differently since Titus is anxious to avenge the murder and Hamlet delays his decision of taking revenge while seeking other alternatives to revenge such as suicide.
There is such a considerable amount of violence in Titus, varying in intensity and degree that it might seem hard to draw any firm conclusions about its impact. One can, however, obtain the idea that the violence within the play has a far greater impact on both the audience and the on-stage characters when accompanied by a rhetoric or language that either juxtaposes or reinforces the brutality. The way in which characters react to violence, evident through their speech and imagery, can manipulate our responses to them and instil either an affinity or indifference to their personalities. Titus' first appearance in Act I Scene I is an example of this manipulation. His cold, calculating rejection of Tamora's plea for her son's life, juxtaposed with the solemn, funeral rhetoric give us the impression of a character who can flit between brutality and normality very easily, and who demonstrates little compassion when doing so.
Losing a loved one can be difficult, hard, and can even drive a person insane. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet death takes its toll on the entire royal family. When King Hamlet died, it caused Claudius to take the thrown and the hand of queen Gertrude. As soon as the King and Queen hear about how mad Hamlet has gone they discuss the idea of death and wonder if the thought of death or not mourning the made him go crazy. Claudius quotes, “When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions” (3.4.52-53). This quote symbolizes that death brings sorrow and how this is a view on death. Although mourning is common between characters in the beginning of the play, views on death become different and apparent among
By using these guidelines, Shakespeare created one of his greatest Aristotelian tragedies. This is because he applied the Poetics’ guidelines to complex plot, the tragic hero, and the establishment of pity, fear, and catharsis of the audience’s emotions. The complex plot follows Othello and his transformation from nobleman to monster through the exploitation of his tragic flaw. As the plot moves from exposition, complication, challenge, conflict, climax, and finally to dénouement, Othello goes through a recognition scene which leads to a reversal in his fortune and his scene of suffering.