Titus Andronicus - Appearance Versus Reality Essay

Titus Andronicus - Appearance Versus Reality Essay

Length: 1350 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Titus Andronicus - Appearance Versus Reality


As appearances play an important role in society, so they also play an important role in William Shakespeare's play Titus Andronicus. From the first scene to the last, Shakespeare elaborates on the theme of appearance versus reality through plot and character. The play’s plot is full of incidents and events that are not what they appear to be: from Titus' “mental breakdown” and Tamora's extended deceitfulness, to Aaron's declared deeds. Each case presents a contrast between what the senses perceive and what reality presents. Some characters are defined better by their actions than their speech.

 

Tamora is a veritable mold for the perfect Machiavellian character. She lusts not for power as her marrying the emperor would at first suggest, but for revenge. However, she is fatally flawed since she cannot perceive the obvious signs that Titus is at some level aware of the reality around him. She is too wrapped up in her own plans, and thus denies the signs of his lucidness. Her extensive cunning and plotting are one-sided. She acknowledges but does not fully comprehend Titus' state of mind:

TAMORA Act 5, Scene 2 (Lines 1-8)

Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment,

I will encounter with Andronicus,

And say I am Revenge, sent from below

To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.

Knock at his study, where, they say, he keeps,

To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge;

Tell him Revenge is come to join with him,

And work confusion on his enemies.

In line 6 she explicitly states that she is aware of Titus' plotting revenge against her, yet she does not believe that he will carry his plans out as evidenced by the word "strange." Her reas...


... middle of paper ...


... reality of their state of affairs and characters. The play is swathed in deceit on diploid levels, both the plot and the underlying personalities and motivations bear disparities between appearance and reality.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bate, Jonathan. "Introduction." Titus Andronicus. The Arden Shakespeare. London: Routledge, 1995. 1-121.

Carducci, Jane. "Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus: An Experiment in Expression." Cahiers Elisabethains 31 (1987): 1-9.

Danson, Lawrence N. "The Device of Wonder: Titus Andronicus and Revenge Tragedies." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 16 (1974): 27-43.

Hulse, S. Clarke. "Wresting the Alphabet: Oratory and Action in 'Titus Andronicus."' Criticism 21(1979): 106-18.

Shakespeare, William. "Titus Andronicus" The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stanley Wells & Gary Taylor. New York/London, W.W. Norton Company, 1997.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Honor in the Play Titus Andronicus Essay

- 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....   [tags: honor, titus andronicus, shakespeare]

Strong Essays
834 words (2.4 pages)

Words and Spectacle in Shakespeare’s "Titus Andronicus" and Julie Taymore’s "Titus"

- Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy is a play infamous for its gore and spectacular violence. Within the play there are multiple murders and lopped limbs aplenty, but the chief victim of the play – the primary spectacle – is Lavinia. Her ill fate is first conveyed to the reader through the ornate words of Marcus, and from this point on Lavinia is seen, but heard only through the words of the other characters. Indeed, in Titus Andronicus Lavinia is the spectacle of the play, and her manifestation is created only through the words of the other characters....   [tags: Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, Julie Taymore]

Strong Essays
2398 words (6.9 pages)

Essay on The Real Hero of Titus Andronicus

- The Real Hero of Titus Andronicus I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble -Augustus Caesar (63 BC - 14 AD) In his essay, Titus Andronicus and the Mythos of Shakespeare's Rome, Robert Miola uncovers and explores the myths Shakespeare uses as bedrock for the background and plot of his first Roman tragedy, Titus Andronicus. Most notably, Miola discusses two Ovidian myths, The Rape of Philomela and The World's Four Ages. The Rape provides Shakespeare with his basic characters and the events involving Lavinia, his Philomela, while Ovid's fourth age of iron describes Shakespeare's physical Rome, "a quintessentially iron city," writes Miola, "a military establishment protecte...   [tags: Titus Andronicus]

Strong Essays
1809 words (5.2 pages)

Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus - A Powerful Tragedy Essay

- Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus - A Powerful Tragedy Titus Andronicus is a play marked by acts of horrific violence and littered with death and the destruction of others. Each violent act, however, serves to explain and sometimes encourage the motives of the play's memorable characters and impart a very tightly knotted plot. The structure of the play employs well-defined heroes and villains. Revenge is their key motivating factor. All of these elements combine to form a cohesive plot and contribute to the overall success of the story....   [tags: Titus Andronicus]

Strong Essays
1680 words (4.8 pages)

Essay about William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus

- William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus Titus transforms into a character of carnival in Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” Carnival is a concept described by Michael Bristol in his paper “Funeral Bak’d-Meats.” In the paper, Bristol describes carnival as a period before the beginning Lent in early modern Europe, characterized by “hedonistic excess and transgression.” (Bristol 351) Carnival characters place special emphasis on food, disguise and a reversal of the social order or “uncrowning.” The lower classes usually celebrate Carnival and they dismiss rules or decorum....   [tags: William Shakespeare Titus Andronicus Essays]

Strong Essays
3096 words (8.8 pages)

Ancient and Modern Elements in Julie Taymor's Adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus

- Ancient and Modern Elements in Julie Taymor's Adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus Roman coliseum . . . Formica kitchen Armored warrior . . . Armored tank Gregorian Chant . . . Hard Rock White toga . . . Metallic business suit Ancient Rome . . . Modern America At first glance, these categories appear entirely incompatible, unable to exist together. However, in Julie Taymor's adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, we find that they are compatible after all. With elaborate sets, stunning costumes, and a remarkable film score, Taymor blurs the boundaries that divide them and creates a world that accommodates both ancient Rome and modern America....   [tags: Titus Andronicus Essays]

Strong Essays
1396 words (4 pages)

Julie Taymor’s Titus Andronicus Essay

- Julie Taymor’s Titus Andronicus Shakespeare's first tragedy has been a topic of discussion since the day it was written. Titus Andronicus "was staged on 24 January 1594 by the Earl of Sussex's Men at the Rose Theatre" (Welsh 1). Though this tidbit of information seems somewhat irrelevant to Titus, we must note that there are certain standards and practices established by a play from its first performance. It is also important to establish the general attributes that audiences attribute to Shakespearean performance....   [tags: Titus Andronicus Essays]

Strong Essays
2758 words (7.9 pages)

Essay on Titus Andronicus - Act III, Scene ii, Lines 53-80

- The Behavior Of Titus Andronicus In Act III, Scene ii, Lines 53-80     In this part of the play, we encounter the intense inner struggle of Titus Andronicus and the extent to which his hardship and anguish have affected his perception and behavior. The need for revenge has reached an extreme level, very close to madness, expressed by his ever-changing mood and inadequate way of reasoning. Shakespeare further develops the character of Titus, adding new features, achieving a remarkable evolution that presents us with an interesting personality and mentality....   [tags: Titus Andronicus Essays]

Strong Essays
1982 words (5.7 pages)

Race in Othello and Titus Andronicus Essay

- Race in Othello and Titus Andronicus        Within both Titus Andronicus and Othello both by William Shakespeare the reader is introduced to the concept of a black man within a white society. Stigmas and stereotypes are attached to the black characters of Aaron and Othello. Although each black character has a similar stigma, the characters are very different from one another. Aaron is portrayed as evil, conniving and malevolent, while Othello has none of these traits. Othello's fault lies in the fact that he is very gullible and easily led....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
1903 words (5.4 pages)

Essay about ‘Titus Andronicus

- ‘Titus Andronicus ‘is a play by William Shakespeare that went to become very popular during his time. The play was performed in Rome after the defeat of the Goths by the Romans. The Goths were people from German who invaded their country. Throughout the play, violence can be seen inform of brutal murders, sexual violence and mutilation, suicide, wars and conflicts. This is normally heightened by the urge of the characters to revenge. Examples of such cases include: the raping and mutilation of Lavinia, Titus’s daughter and the killing of Alarbus....   [tags: Play Analysis, Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1015 words (2.9 pages)