Essay Suffering in Titues Andronicus and King Lear

Essay Suffering in Titues Andronicus and King Lear

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Suffering in Titues Andronicus and King Lear


An essential element to any Shakespearean tragedy is the idea of human suffering. In both Titus Andronicus and King Lear no one can deny that the characters in these plays do indeed suffer and at great lengths, but the question begs to be asked what is the source of this suffering? Keeping in mind that during the times in which William Shakespeare wrote death, adultery and fragrant sexuality where at an optimal level and as such single parent families frequently resulted. Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and King Lear are indeed tales that show the follies of such single parent families and more precisely those families that lack a mothering figure. It is this lack of the female in the parental role, which serves as a source of suffering for both the parents and their children.
With out female partner in the play, Titus Andronicus is with a doubt a completely masculine figure who instead of being dedicated to a wife is instead is dedicated to his country, Rome. These two factors greatly play against each other in Titus Andronicus and serve to be extremely problematic for Titus and his children. Valerie Traub states in her essay Gender and Sexuality in Shakespeare , that "the sixteenth century was patriarchal. The Father was likened to the ruler of the realm, with extreme powers and complete control." (Traub, 129) Within the first scene, the Titus that the reader is presented with desire's complete control over his family and it is the lack of a female presence that gives him such control. Left with out a mothering influence in the play Titus is able raise each of his sons to be warriors, manly men who like their father serve Rome in a militaristic way. Titus leads them int...


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...Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Jaynes, Nanette. "Violence in Titus Andronicus." The Explicator.
Vol. 54 Issue 4 (1996) 200par, 4P. 02/27/2002.
www.unipissing.ca/department/library/njournal.htm

Potter, Lois. "Shakespeare in the Sixteenth Century." Ed. de
Grazua, Margreta & Wells, Stanley. The Cambridge Guide to
Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Shakespeare, William. "King Lear." The Riverside Shakespeare:
Second Addition. New York: The Houghton Mifflin Company,
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Shakespeare, William. "Titus Adronicus." The Riverside
Shakespeare: Second Addition. New York: The Houghton
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Traub, Valerie. "Gender and Sexuality in Shakespeare." Ed. de
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Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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