The word in question, hero, as well as Titus’ ability to fit the mold of the term, has seen substantial changes over time. The modern dictionary sheds light on what our world currently calls a hero: first, a hero is “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities” and second is “a person who, in the opi...
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... hero that once meant honorable defender of Roman values now has a vague, general meaning. Does Titus fit any historical description of hero? By the standards of the Roman Republic, Titus was certainly a hero: he gave up most of his life to the battlefield and almost all of his children to the glory of fighting for Rome. However, when considered with the critical eye towards Titus within only the scope of the play, he is far from heroic. His downfall begins almost immediately after a procession puts him on a pedestal. In fact, Titus has nowhere to go but down from the height of his great, Republican platform. Titus, then, is a far better example of a tragic hero, someone who exhibits noble qualities but quickly begins to lose the grip on the stronghold of his honorable life. Unable to maintain the label of hero in this tragedy, Titus instead becomes its tragic hero.
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