A Comparison of Evil in Richard III, Titus, and Romeo and Juliet

A Comparison of Evil in Richard III, Titus, and Romeo and Juliet

Length: 978 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Evil Within and Evil External in Richard III, Titus, and Romeo and Juliet    

 Shakespeare's villains seem to fall into one of two categories: those who are villainous of heart (inherently and genuinely evil or Machiavellian) and those who are circumstantially turned antagonists. Richard III's carefully plotted plans to usurp the throne contrast heavily against Aaron's (of Titus Andronicus) rambling which contrasts with Aaron's lack of action. The motivations of these two characters are different however. Richard seizes the opportunity to take over the throne by Machiavellian means when presented with the opportunity. Aaron represents the evil presumed of a "godless moor," his character being a symbol as much as his skin colour particularly to an audience familiar with the conquests.


Tamora is truly more evil than Aaron. She is the one who commands her sons to rape and cut up Lavinia leaving her dishonoured, with two bloody stumps for hands and no tongue with which to tell the tale. Aaron suggests that he tutored the sons in their behaviour (Act V Scene I Lines 99-111):

Indeed I was their tutor to instruct them.

That coddling spirit had they from their mother,

As sure as a card as ever won the set;

That bloody mind I think they learn'd of me,

As true a dog as ever fought at head.

Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth:

I train'd thy brethren to that guileful hole,

Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay;

I wrote the letter that thy father found,

And hid the gold that within that letter mentioned,

Confederate with the queen and two sons;

The audience never witnesses Aaron's supposed teachings however, nor is it likely that if he were to continue living as before that he would commit the acts he pledges himself to as he is to be hanged (Act V Scene I Lines 125-144). Aaron talks of evil and trickery, while Tamora lives its epitome, marrying herself into the queen-ship of the conquering tribe. When presented with his child Aaron does care for it, and only agrees to speak upon the condition that it shall be saved. This insight into his character makes him seem almost a worthier person than Titus who murders his own sons. The villain shows more care for his kin than the hero does for his. This serves to make Aaron a more realistic villain by making him more human.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"A Comparison of Evil in Richard III, Titus, and Romeo and Juliet." 123HelpMe.com. 11 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Juliet's Growth Throughout William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay

- Juliet's Growth Throughout William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet is a play that was written by Shakespeare in 1595. William was born in 1564 and died in 1616 he was the third child of John and Mary Shakespeare. The first two were daughters and William was himself followed by Gilbert who died in 1612 and Richard who died in 1613. Other plays written by William are Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear. The prologue is used to summarise the events of the play. The first quote 'Two households both alike in dignity' tells us that both the Montagues and Capulets are both equal in wealth, social standing and status....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2440 words (7 pages)

William Shakespeare 's ' The Bard Of Avon ' Essay

- Amanda Phakonekham Kennedy York 8 November 2014 Theatre Appreciation 10 Shakespeare Research Paper Mainly referred as the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare was an exquisite English writer whose works have altered the course of European and World literature. Shakespeare’s works have influenced many writers and philosophers all around the world. Despite his influence, Shakespeare’s personal life and his role in the creations were questioned. How could a man, who seemed so simple, create such work that would affect the world of literature....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet]

Research Papers
1036 words (3 pages)

West Side : Film Review Essay

- The film West Side takes place in New York City where a Polish- American gang, referred to as the Jets, competes against a Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks, to own the neighborhood streets. The central theme of this film is passionate love that defies friendships, family and other factors. To add to that, the dominating genre of the film is a musical involving drama and romance. To begin with, in this film, Richard Beymer (Tony) is the former leader of the jet that lives with Riff, works at Docs store and is in love with Maria....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, Maria]

Research Papers
1080 words (3.1 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Romeo And Juliet Essay

- Mercutio, the nurse, and Friar Lawrence all one way or another responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, despite the fact that they are not equally blamed for it. If they are not that emotionally driven and think before their actions, Romeo and Juliet’s tragic deaths definitely would never happen. The first one who held partial responsibility for causing the deaths of Romeo and Juliet is Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend. The first accusation toward Mercutio is that he is the one who started the third fight in Verona, in turn, led to Prince Escalus’s declaration of giving death to anyone who starts anymore fight....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet]

Research Papers
776 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Comparison of Romeo and Juliet Movies

- Comparison of Romeo and Juliet Movies Franco Zeffirellis ‘Romeo & Juliet’ was the most popular film in the box office in 1968, eight years after he directed it on the stage in the West End. Baz Luhrmann created his version thirty years later, in a modern style. There are many differences and similarities between the films, but each does not change the tale. They use young actors and actresses to appeal to the younger audience at the time that they were released, but it is obvious to see the generation gap between them....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare Film Essays]

Research Papers
1249 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on William Shakespeare 's Romeo And Juliet

- The Role of Fate in Romeo and Juliet Fate is merely an idea; “the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed” (Dictionary.com). Evidently, fate is an empty word; filled with ideas [and pretty words], but it is blurry and cannot come to a conclusion. We created this idea to explain the consequences of our actions and for the longest time, we argued for fate. However, whether fate is real or not, it is not an aspect we can rely on, unlike our character which is stable and real....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet]

Research Papers
1405 words (4 pages)

Essay about Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet"

- William Shakespeare's "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet," set in 16th century Verona, Italy shares differences with Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet," set in modern day Verona Beach. These stories contain the same characters and conflict, however major and minor discrepancies are galore in the story lines of both formats of William Shakespeare's creation. Some major inconsistencies occur, such as Mercutio dying at a beach, portrayed as a hero, instead of being at a bar, looking like a fool, Friar Lawrence's letter is successfully sent to Romeo by mail carriers, however he does not have the opportunity to read it, unlike in the play version, where Romeo does not get the letter from Friar John, a...   [tags: Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Baz Luhrmann, Romeo]

Research Papers
1150 words (3.3 pages)

The Blame for Romeo and Juliet's Death Essay examples

- The Blame for Romeo and Juliet's Death The story of Romeo and Juliet originally came from a myth around the old town of Verona, later on in history Shakespeare took this idea of 'two star-crossed lovers' and made it into the 'Romeo and Juliet' we know today. In Elizabethan Verona the story begins with two families, the Capulets, and the Montagues. The families have been feuding for many years, much to the dismay of the Prince of the town. The Capulet family has only one child, Juliet....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Research Papers
1178 words (3.4 pages)

Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare Essay

- Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare In Romeo and Juliet the beauty and ardour of young love is seen by Shakespeare as the irradiating glory of sunlight and starlight in a dark work. Discuss the techniques that Shakespeare would have used to capture this dominating image of light. In the time of Shakespeare, his plays would have been performed during the day, using natural light from the open centre of the theatre. Since there could be no dramatic lighting and there was very little scenery or props, Shakespeare used actors' lines and stage directions to supply the time of day and year, the weather, location and mood of the scenes....   [tags: Free Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Research Papers
977 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

- William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet is a famous play by William Shakespeare, a famous playwright. He displays this play as a tragedy because on what happens on the characters and the conflict between the two families. He is from the Elizabethan era. This play is set in Italy, Verona during the 13th century during time when between higher-class families was rife. The themes of this play are love, hate, tragedy and conflict. Romeo is initially presented as a young man with a broken heart....   [tags: Free Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Free Essays
453 words (1.3 pages)

Related Searches

Titus by stark contrast, appears almost too devoted to his system of values to consider the reality of his situation.


It is through Tamora's ascent to the throne that the action of the play is driven. However, her affair with Aaron symbolically suggests that she is not loyal to her own cause; the affair threatens her life and therefore her position plotting revenge against Titus for her first son's death. If the emperor were to discover her treachery she would undoubtedly be executed, much as Aaron is sentenced to die. She is one of the few women characters in Shakespeare who is allowed to play a pivotal forefront role openly; most are relegated to behind (or perhaps, more accurately, below) the action, though their observations and interactions may be no less striking than those of their male counterparts.


Romeo and Juliet deals not so much with an evil character, but with hatred itself personified by and realized through those family members who continue the feud. The original source of the feud is never revealed, which is why the hate itself takes on such a strong role. It is truly as blind as Romeo's love for Juliet.

Tybalt exemplifies the hotheadedness which leads to the slaying of Mercutio. It is through him that the hate is the most evidently channelled. He is distressed by Romeo's mere presence at the Capulets' party, while no other members of his family show such signs. Tybalt functions as the spark which ignites the hatred in an open way. Without him, the story is merely that of two families who forever hold grudges; he is a catalyst to the plot. Tybalt is less an evil villain than he is an ignorant and short-sighted participant, entrapped by his own hatred.


References to God and natural order, particularly defiance of the two, are interwoven character themes in several plays. Claudius from Hamlet can be seen as a villain in a biblical sense: "Claudius is thus not only Cain but Adam. Claudius's sin has, for Hamlet at least, turned Denmark into a fallen Eden; thorns and thistles dominate the landscape."(2) The other difficulty Hamlet Prince of Denmark presents, is Hamlet's objection to the "incest" of Claudius marrying Hamlet's mother. This is a play upon the audience's presumption that because Hamlet is of high blood he will be 'rightfully' disturbed by such a matter; it is an outgrowth of the Darwinian(3) idea of inborn traits that allowed superiority.


Richard III is an atheist, which violates the natural order (assumed by Elizabethan audiences to be at work within the world) in the strongest way possible. His open hubris foreshadows his own undoing (Act I Scene III Lines 227-237)):

Was ever woman in this humour woo'd?

Was ever woman in this humour won?

I'll have her, but I will not keep her long.

What? I that kill'd her husband and his father,

To take her in her heart's extremist hate,

With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,

The bleeding witness of my hatred by,

Having God, her conscience, and these bars against me,

And I no friends to back my suit [at all]

But the plain devil and dissembling looks?

In this boastful passage, Richard suggests that he has beaten not only Lady Anne but God as well. It is these hubristically shaped attitudes along with Richard's Machiavellian ability to plot that allow him to ascend to the throne; they are the same ones that are his undoing.

Return to 123HelpMe.com