Honor in the Play Titus Andronicus

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With so many words making up the content of plays, it is difficult for one, single word to make much of an impact. However, the word ‘honor’ does just that in the play Titus Andronicus. Honor means different things to different people, and this is quite evident in the tragedy that is Titus Andronicus. The definition of honor has changed throughout the history of man. The character for which the play is named, Titus, puts his honor and the honor of Rome before anything else. In the play, honor is used as justification for wrongful actions. There are murders that happen in the name of honor. Honor is also lost by some and taken from others. Although small in size, the word honor plays a large role in Titus Andronicus.
In order to understand how the word honor impacts Titus Andronicus, it is important to first understand what the word means. Honor is defined differently during William Shakespeare’s lifetime, in the play Titus Andronicus, and in present day. In Shakespeare’s time, honor was very important because status and reputation were very important. The higher one’s status or the better one’s reputation reflected how honorable the person was considered to be. In Titus Andronicus, the definition of honor seems to change from character to character; however, William Shakespeare portrays the importance of honor in the Roman Empire. Honor meant everything to the warriors, rulers, and people of the Roman Empire. In the present day, honor is not as important as it was in the past. The sad truth is that today reputation or status is not based upon one’s honor; it is based mainly off of how much money the person makes or how well they can lip-sync at their sold out concerts. Merriam-Webster defines honor as “high moral standards of beh...

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...f his honor. When Titus allows Aaron to cut off his hand, he is letting Aaron take away his honor. By the end of the play, Titus has nothing to show of the honor he once killed for.
The premise of the play Titus Andronicus can be easily summed up in one word. That word is simply ‘honor’. Honor means a different thing today than it did during the Roman Empire or Shakespeare’s life, but it is important to know honor’s definition in order to understand Titus Andronicus. Honor was used to justify murdering multiple times throughout the play. Titus killed two of his own children to protect his honor. Titus’s honor was also destroyed by Lavinia being raped and mutilated and Aaron tricking Titus into cutting off his hand, an important symbol of his honor. The word ‘honor’ has a huge impact on the play Titus Andronicus.

Works Cited

Titus Andronicus, William Shakespeare
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