Titus Andronicus: An Anachronistic Obsession over First Born Sons

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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 discourses,” the anti-papist Elizabethan attitudes, and other religious and pagan traditions, Moschovakis plainly admits that “Titus evades all attempts to be read as partisan invective” (Moschovakis 462). Because Shakespeare included a wide range of conflict and overlapping belief systems, assertions tend to become, as Moschovakis puts it, “curiously inconsistent” and “overshadowed” (Moschovakis 462). What can be claimed as transparent in Titus Andronicus, and what I think is appealing to the masses, is that Shakespeare drew upon the major controversial motifs in human history and religion, and he included the evils of hypocrisy which allow for realistic interest regardless of what your religious or political stance is. Moreover, I would argue that Shakespeare exposes a more obvious anachronistic element that can serve in expanding Moschovakis’ arguments. Titus Andronicus demonstrates the time honored obsession over first born sons, and because the play includes a first born son in each family t...

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... work is timeless. The permanence of this play is owed to a clever intermingling of opposing belief systems. Shakespeare took the ancient contrasting themes of revenge and Christianity, he tossed in hypocrisy, and he mixed them up with the judgmental fingers of Tamora and Aaron. Although the legalistic demands of the Andronicus family are met with a storm of indictments of hypocrisy by the non-religious Tamora and Aaron, there is one unifying factor. All can agree on the importance of the first born son.

Works Cited

Moschovakis, Nicholas R. “‘Irreligious Piety’ and Christian History: Persecution as Pagan
Anachronism in Titus Andronicus.” Shakespeare Quarterly. Winter 2002: pages 460-486.
JSTOR. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. 7th Edition. Ed.
David Bevington. New York: Pearson, 2014. Print.
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