Tamora's Character Analysis in Titus Andronicus

In William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus play, Queen Tamora proportionately hits back against both General Titus Andronicus and Saturninus for unethical actions.

To this end, Queen Tamora encourages Chiron and Demetrius to rape Lavinia. Queen Tamora encourages this unethical action in response to Andronicus’unethical action of sacrificing Airbus. Further, Queen Tamora punishes Saturninus’unethical behavior by becoming romantically involved with Aaron. This essay shows that, within Titus Andronicus, Queen Tamora employs proportionate means to hit back at both General Andronicus and Saturninus for unethical actions.

To proportionately retaliate against General Andronicus’unethical action of sacrificing Alarbus, Queen Tamora urges Chiron and Demetrius to rape Lavinia. In this regard, General Andronicus offers Alarbus as a sacrifice to the Roman gods. Andronicus justifies his unethical action by explaining that Alarbus’ death stands in for Andronicus’ twenty-one sons who have died at war. General Andronicus’ action is unethical because Queen Tamora, who is Alarbus’ mother, is devastated by the son’s death (Shakespeare, n.

d.). To punish General Andronicus, Queen Tamora encourages Chiron and Demetrius to rape Lavinia. Interestingly, Queen Tamora chooses Chiron and Demetrius as her instruments for revenging General Andronicus. This is because Chiron and Demetrius are Queen Tamora’sons. Consequently, Queen Tamora employs her children to hit back against General Andronicus who engages in unethical behavior on account of his children. Given these circumstances, a reader would conclude that Queen Tamora takes her revenge against General Andronicus in a strategic fashion.

In other words, Queen Tamora hurts General Andronicus’ child just as General Andronicus has hurt her child.

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Queen Tamora thereby proportionately punishes General Andronicus’unethical action. Moreover, Queen Tamora enters into a romantic liaison with Aaron to proportionately punish Saturninus for his unethical action of insisting on marrying her. On this note, Saturninus takes unfair advantage of Queen Tamora by asking Queen Tamora for her hand in marriage Saturninus’ marriage quest is unethical because being a captive oinforeign land; Queen Tamora does not have much choice. Given that Saturninus is a leader within Rome where Queen Tamora is held as a prisoner of war, Queen Tamora cannot realistically refuse Saturninus’ marriage proposal. A reader can thus conclude that Queen Tamora largely agrees with Saturninus’ proposal reluctantly. To punish Saturninus’unethical behavior, Queen Tamora becomes romantically involved with Aaron, a Black man (Ibid.). This way, Queen Tamora responds to Saturninus’ unethical behavior proportionately; Queen Tamora desecrates the institution that Saturninus creates using unethical methods. In other words, Queen Tamora employs similar means to violate her marriage to Saturninus. Given that Saturninus has employed unethical means to form this marriage, Queen Tamora applies comparable treachery to defile the marriage.

From this analysis, it is clear that Queen Tamora proportionately punishes Saturninus’ unethical behavior by becoming Aaron’s secret lover. In conclusion, within Titus Andronicus, Queen Tamora retaliates against both General Andronicus and Saturninus for unethical behaviors. In this regard, Queen Tamora encourages Chiron and Demetrius to rape Lavinia to punish General Andronicus for the unethical action of sacrificing Airbus. Further, Queen Tamora becomes Aaron’s secret lover to punish Saturninus’ unethical action of coercing her to marry him. It is striking that Shakespeare depicts Queen Tamora as a strong character within 16th-century England. It would be prudent to investigate what prevailing circumstances motivated Shakespeare to portray Queen Tamora as a strong female character within a patriarchal society.


  1. Shakespeare, W. (n.d.). Titus Andronicus. Retrieved from http://shakespeare.mit.edu/titus/full.html

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Tamora's Character Analysis in Titus Andronicus. (2022, Aug 16). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/character-analysis-of-queen-tamora-in-william-shakespeare-s-play-titus-andronicus/

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