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Titus Andronicus a political tragedy - Book Report/Review Example

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In his play, Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare paints the backdrop to the downfall of Rome. He uses one family's tragedy as a means of mirroring the political turmoil and corruption of the Roman Empire. The play focuses around the family of Titus Andronicus, a famed Roman military leader…
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Titus Andronicus a political tragedy
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Download file to see previous pages In the play Shakespeare displays the breakdown of each of the characters as if to symbolize the effects of the collapse of Rome in each one of them. "Beginning with Bassianus, the audience witnesses his decline as the decision for the throne is taken from him and given to his brother instead" (White). This in turn costs him his future wife, Lavinia, as the new king vows to take her as his wife. Martius argues, "Thou art Roman be not barbarious," (Shakespeare) in protest of Saturninus' decision to make Lavinia his wife and also to protest of Titus' murder of his own son, Mutius, for trying to defend Lavinia and Bassianus. These examples depict how political greed and struggle for honor can destroy family ties and the things that matter most. The audience also witnesses the beginning breakdown of Saturinus as he chooses Tamora as his wife instead in a quest for political power. He well knows that Tamora is a Goth famous for her brutality and the apparent simplicity of their marriage leaves the audience questioning why a civilized Roman would choose to marry a barbaric Goth. "This act reveals a deeper understanding of the true violence at the heart of the Roman Empire" (Royster). ...
"While the insult is lost on the simple barbaric minds of Lavinia's rapists, Aaron recognizes the mythological quote of Horace and notes the gravity of the insult" (Miola). The use of words distinguishes the wise characters as they often use quotes in reference to myths and allow them to communicate their attacks on each other and express their deceit. Shakespeare's emphasis on knowledge of mythology makes it seem that those with the knowledge are the true heroes of the play (Detmer). The dramatic disclosure of Lavinia's rape is ultimately shown through the "concept of her body as a text and she refers to the wise words of Ovid" (Lugo) to reveal the identity of her rapists.
In every aspect of the play there is an underlying sense of foreboding and doom. Shakespeare uses the symbol of the pit and underground to fuel this feeling, giving his audience a way of seeing how everything is tied to together and how the destruction of one character can symbolize the destruction of an entire nation. "Particularly in Act II the reader gains a better understanding of this fear of the pit and how it effects the characters in the play" (Dickson). The scene opens with Aaron burying a bag of gold underground, and is then followed by Bassianus' corpse being thrown into a pit where both Quintus and Martius are also trapped. This sense of doom can also be translated into the brutal raping of Lavinia with references to "this abhorred pit" and "this unhallowed and bloodstained hole". These refines always portray the pit as a kind of death or symbol of a tomb signaling the audience to see the connection between the death of Rome and death of Titus' family. The fear of this pit can be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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