Titus Andronicus Literary Analysis

The Author: William Shakespeare is one of the most well-known and famous playwrights in history. A few of his most famous works are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Richard III. He was an English playwright, poet, and actor.

Plot: Titus, a general of a Roman army is pulled into a cycle of revenge after he has defeated the Goths. Their queen Tamora and her lover a moor Aaron has her sons rape and disfigure Titus’s daughter, Lavinia, cutting off her hands and tongue, blaming the crime on Titus’s sons Martius and Quintus and having them executed.

Titus executes his revenge by killing Tamora’s sons and baking them into pies that she eats. This leads to a sequence of bloody killings and by the end of the play, everyone but Titus’s son Lucius is emperor and punishing Aaron for his crimes.

Character: The characters in Titus Andronicus are a wide variety, and many of them share some type of brutal and barbarous quality about them.

 Titus- The renowned general of Rome. He is a very old-fashioned fellow who always sticks to the customs of Ancient Rome. He does has a condition of bloodlust, considering he kills one of his sons to prove a point in the first scene, kills two men to bake into pies, and snaps his daughter’s neck to once again prove a point.

Tamora- The fallen queen of the goths. In the first scene, she is seen as a very merciful woman begging to show her and her son mercy.

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This quickly changes when Titus kills on of her sons and she swears to have her revenge. She is a very sexual character who uses her sex appeal to keep her power by agreeing to marry the emperor Saturninus. She is also having an affair with a moor Aaron.

Lavinia- Titus’s virtuous daughter who becomes the trigger for his bloodlust. Her fiance is murdered by Tamora’s sons and she is then violently raped by them. They cut off her hands and tongue so she could never tell about what happened, but she can by taking a stick and writing in the dirt with her mouth and stumps. Although nothing is shown much of her personality since she is attacked so early in the play, she is a big visual representation of Titus’s trigger ofone the revenge cycle.

Aaron- Aaron is to Titus Andronicus what Iago is to Othello, except far more sadistic and cold-blooded. He is Tamora’s secret lover who convinces her sons to rape Lavinia and he forges a letter saying it was Titus’s sons. There is no actual reason given for his actions so the only logical explanation is that he is a naturally evil man who loves to be bad, he even declares it. “Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace. Aaron will have his soul black like his face.” (3.1)

Imagery/Symbolism/Figurative Language: There are many murders in this play, and every time somebody’s body part is cut off (six are cut off to be exact) at some point someone brings up Rome’s body politics. The severed limbs are a big symbol of Rome falling apart, and this all starts when Titus refuses to be the emperor and “help to set a head on headless Rome” (1.1). There is a pit in the play that Bassinius’s dead body is thrown into that Tamora’s sons describe as a “bloodstained hole” and “swallowing womb” (2.3). This is Shakespeare’s quite vulgar imagery of a woman’s ruined womb and vagina, and this is all said after Lavinia’s torture. In Act 2, everyone decides to take a hunting trip and Tamora’s sons use this as an opportunity to violate Lavinia, and during this decision they use hunting as a metaphor for what they will do to her, “we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound… But hope to pluck a dainty doe to the ground” (2.1).

Tone: Throughout the play, there is a very dark tone surrounding the characters, but there are also some very dark comedic moments. In the scene when Titus is dressed as a chef and gleefully tells Tamora the fate of her sons, “why they are baked in….this pie” (5.3). This is Shakespeare bringing some lightneblood feud leaving everyone dead and at the end, Lucius takes his revenge on Aaron by punishing him. When everyone is wanting vengence their personalities seem to inherit a wolfish and vulgar quality. In a way, Shakespeare wants to show how animalistic and blood-lusted people can become when they crave their retribution.

Significance of Title: The title is pretty straightforward. The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus tells of the terrible things that encounter Titus. Additional Comments: This underrated play of William Shakespeare has to be the bloodiest, vicious, and most violent of all of his works. However,r that does not take away its originality from the rest of his works. This possible father to the horror and murder genre ss and dark comedy into a very morbid moment.

Theme: The major theme in Titus Andronicus has to be revenge murder. Tamora and Aaron want to take revenge on Titus, who then takes revenge on Tamora.

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Titus Andronicus Literary Analysis. (2022, Aug 16). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-literary-analysis-of-the-tragedy-of-titus-in-titus-andronicus-a-play-by-william-shakespeare/

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