Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus

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Titus Andronicus is a boldly and brutal portrayal of the fragility of social and political order. It explores the consequences of vengeance, and through horrific and at times amusing drama reveals vengeances' ineffectiveness. (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/titusandronicus/). The essential plot that leads Titus to his final realizations are the fact that he feels as if he has lost everything. He has done everything by the book, he has always been straightforward, he has fought Rome's wars and has gained honor. He was even asked to be emperor but his actions have taken so much away from him that he decides that he would be incapable of ruling the country. During the course of the text he feels as if all the hard work that he has done has been fruitless. It is this strict adherence to tradition that causes his enemies to take revenge against him. (sparknotes.com). An example of this is when he chooses Saturninus as emperor over Bassianus. He does this just because Saturninus is the eldest son, knowing very well that Bassianus would do a much better job as emperor then his eldest brother. Since he has always followed traditions he decides that the same rules should always be followed even it is not what is best for the country.

"Tribunes, I thank you: and this suit I make,

That you create your emperor's eldest son,

Lord Saturnine; whose virtues will, I hope,

Reflect on Rome as Titan's rays on earth,

And ripen justice in this commonweal:

Then, if you will elect by my advice,

Crown him and say 'Long live our emperor!"

Tamora (queen of the Goths) has taken it upon herself to make Titus' life miserable due to the fact that she pleaded for her eldest son's life to be spared and Titus refused because he was always used to following protocol. His only daughter was raped and mutilated by Tamora's sons. He lost many sons during the war. He only had three left and two of them we framed for murder and beheaded by the evil deeds of Tamora and her lover Aaron the Moor. Titus at this point feels that all that he has accomplished has gone down the drain. His family has been destroyed because of his relentless attempts to follow the codes of proper behavior.

Titus feels as if all has been lost. Each new misfortune hits the aged, tired Titus with heavier impact. Eventually, he begins to act oddly and everyone assumes that he is crazy.

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(sparknotes.com) Tamora takes advantage of Titus' weak state of mind and comes to him in the middle of the night acting as Revenge. Titus plays along with her and she comes to offer him justice if Titus will only convince Lucius to cease attacking Rome. He agrees but wants Tamora and Saturninus to come for dinner. Here Titus takes matters into his own hands, and takes Tamora's sons captive and kills them. Here he has had his revenge for his daughter, whose purity was taken away from her because of these men's savage behavior. When Tamora and Saturninus come for dinner he has served them a pie, which are the bodies of Tamora's sons. Titus also kills Lavinia; regardless that she is his only daughter she is no longer pure and must die, again always following customs and also to end her suffering. He then decides to kill Tamora; here he has avenged the downfall, which has occurred since she has come to his existence. This is also when Titus is killed and so is Saturninus.

What leads Titus to this is that he is convinced that he must do what is suppose to be done whether it is hurtful to him or his family. He must always follow the correct procedure regardless if it means killing his own kin. His main goal was to get revenge for the evildoings of Tamora. Much of the tragedy is a direct result of a lack of mercy or consideration shown to one's defeated enemies. (http://cla.calpoly.edu/~smarx/Shakespeare/smquotation/titus.html). Titus is angered so therefore takes it upon himself to punish the people who have hurt him and his family.

Titus' tragic flaw and fall are that he never wanted to listen to anyone's opinion or idea; it what was what he said and it was final. Chronicling the descent of a man so set in his ways that he unwittingly brings his own world down around him; Titus Andronicus takes us deep into the stormy center of the basest of all human emotions- anger. (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/titusandronicus/) He even kills his son because he helped Lavinia escape with the love of her life-Bassisnus. Once he kills his son he says that he will not bury him properly because of his betrayal.

"Traitors, away! He rests not in this tomb:

This monument five hundred years hath stood,

which I have sumptuously re-edified:

Here none but soldiers and Rome's servitors

repose in fame; none basely slain in brawls:

Bury him where you can; he comes not here"

Titus' flaws were that instead of following what was best for someone even it meant breaking the rules he would ignore that feeling and just do what is expected. Especially since he was a Roman commander showing compassion was considered weak, Titus only acted on what was dictated for a man of his position. Also his need for revenge was immense. Although I do not blame him for wanting to avenge all the indecencies that were done to his daughter and the murder of his sons, this great need for revenge led to his death.
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