Shakespearean texts often examine attitudes and beliefs towards gender and contrast the gender roles to negotiate issues of gender in Elizabethan society. ‘Titus Andronicus’ by William Shakespeare explores several ideas of gender. The play is set in the later days of the Roman Empire, it tells the story of Titus Andronicus, a general in the Roman Army and his cycle of revenge with Tamora, the queen of Goths, Titus’ war prisoner and the new Empress of Rome. These ideas are through the characterization of Tamora and Lavinia, Titus’ daughter. Being some of the only women in the text both Tamora and Lavinia portray different types of femininity. Lavinia conveys a more natural, graceful side of femininity while Tamora’s femininity is altered to fit into the male-dominated world of politics in both Ancient Rome and Elizabethan society. Shakespeare looks not only at female gender roles but also male gender roles. He examines the stoicism, masculinity, the requirement of honour, and gender-orientated expectations of men in Elizabethan society. These attitudes towards gender are also evident within relationships between characters. The attitudes and values towards gender are also contrasted in the relationships between men and women. This is specifically shown through the mother-son relationship of Tamora and her two sons, Chiron and Demetrius and through the father-daughter relationship of Titus and Lavinia. The text also compares the genders in relation to sexuality and power and the expectations of these ideas in both genders. Titus Andronicus compares and contrasts both of the gender roles in the context of Elizabethan society in relation to political, social, sexual, and gender-orientated power.
The character of Lavinia Andronicu...
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...and gender-orientates expectations in Elizabethan Society.
Connolly, A., & Steggle, M. (n.d.). EMLS 15.2 (2010-11): Masculinity and Barbarism in Titus Andronicus.  Eugene Giddens, Anglia Ruskin University. EMLS 15.2 (2010-11): Masculinity and Barbarism in Titus Andronicus.  Eugene Giddens, Anglia Ruskin University. Retrieved April 5, 2014, from http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/15-2/giddtitu.htm
Grimmett, R. (2005). By Heaven and Hell: Re-evaluating Representations of Women and the Angel/Whore Dichotomy in Renaissance Revenge Tragedy. Journal of International Women's Studies, 6, 31-38.
Medici, C. (2005, December 6). The Role of Female Characters in Titus Andronicus and Macbeth. Yahoo Contributor Network. Retrieved April 5, 2014, from http://voices.yahoo.com/the-role-female-characters-titus-andronicus-12201.html?cat=38 Medici, C. (2005, December 6).
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