Shakespeare’s Play Titled “Titus Andronicus”
Human beings do not expect a love story to have any form of violence, revenge, and murder. However, William Shakespeare’s plays titled “Titus Andronicus” have massive brutality and cruel deaths. Titus Andronicus, as the Roman General, spearheaded a ten-year war. The war was so tragic that Titus lost his twenty-one sons leaving him with only four sons. The four surviving sons were Martius, Mutius, Lucius, and Quintus. In observation of rituals done after wars, Titus captured the queen of the Goths known as Tamora in order to appease the gods. Titus also captured Tamora’s three sons namely Alarbus, Demetrius, and Chiron, and Aaron, Tamora’s lover. This play has fourteen deaths commencing with the murder of Tamora’s eldest son, Airbus, in revenge for the spirits of Titus ’sons massacred during the war (Shakespeare & Waith, 2008). Alarbus’ murder was disheartening to Tamora and she swore to forge vengeance against Titus Andronicus. At the time, the Roman people proposed Titus take over Roman emperorship but the deceased emperor’s eldest surviving son Saturninus, took the rulership because Titus was old. Saturninus used his conniving tactics and married Tamora. Tamora later used this acquired power to revenge for the murder of her eldest son.
With the revenge theme, the big question many readers ask themselves about this play is whether it has any form of love as most of Shakespeare’s plays have a romantic touch. In my opinion, the play, “Titus Andronicus” displays a form of love too. However, the love shown in this play is not romantic love but filial love. The murder and brutality forged by Tamora and Titus were necessitated by their love for their children. No party could stand the murder of their children without revenging (Shakespeare, Mcdonald & Orgel, 2000). The play, Act one titled “Before the Capitol” shows Marcus having love for his brother Titus Andronicus, by telling Saturninus to put across his bid for emperorship carefully because Titus was already nominated for the emperor position. Thereafter, we witness Titus preparing to bury his sons and Lucius proposes that Alarbus, Tamora’s eldest son be burnt. Tamora shows a mother’s love for his son by pleading with Titus not to murder Airbus. Titus’ surviving sons Mutius, Martius, Lucius, and Quintus also show love for their dead brother by chopping off Alarbus’s limbs and burning them in revenge for their dead brothers. Titus supports this outrageous act by saying “Let it be so, and let Andronicus Make this his latest farewell to their (his dead sons) souls”. Later in the scene, Titus kills his son Mutius, for dishonoring him by shielding the door where Bassianus was laying with Lavinia (Shakespeare & Waith, 2008). Titus wanted Lavinia to become the empress by marrying Saturninus. However, Lavinia was already betrothed to Bassianus and traditionally he had the right to lay her. Lucius, Martius, Quintus, and Marcus pushed by brotherly love, pleaded with Titus to bury Mutius with the rest of his brothers.
Act 2, scene one titled “Before the palace” commences with Demetrius and Chiron confessing their lust for Lavinia. They confessed their willingness to murder anyone for them to get Lavinia. Scene three titled “A lonely part of the Forest” narrates how Bassianus and Lavinia became aware of the evil plot and confront Tamora. Later, Demetrius and Chiron stab Bassianus and bury him in a ditch. Aaron had sworn to help Tamora to revenge for the death of Airbus. Aaron fakes a letter and incriminates Martius and Quintus for murdering Bassianus. Emperor Saturninus sentences Martius and Quintus to death because he loved Bassianus his brother very much and he felt great grief for the demise. Scene four titled” Another part of the forest,” begins by narrating how Demetrius and Chiron raped Lavinia and cut off her tongue and hands (Shakespeare, Mcdonald & Orgel, 2000). Marcus finds Lavinia in this great pain and feels pity for his niece for her sad predicament.
Act 3 scene one titled “A Street” narrates how Martius and Quintus face trial over the accusation of killing Bassianus. Titus shows a father’s love by pleading with the senate to let his sons free. Lucius also sacrifices his stay in Rome and offers to be banished from Rome for his brothers to be released. Furthermore, Titus accepts to chop off his hand in order to save his sons from death. However, these pleas are ignored because Martius and Quintus are eventually beheaded. In scene two titled” Titus house,” Marcus shows brotherly love by comforting Titus for all his grief.
Act four scene one titled” Titus garden,” reveals how Lavinia loves Young Lucius. She later uses a staff held in her mouth to write the names of the people who raped her and cut off her tongue and hands. Scene two titled” Rome the palace,” shows a nurse coming in with a dark baby birthed by Tamora. This is Aaron’s baby. Aaron tries to conceal his sins by killing the nurse and the midwife who helped Tamora to deliver and flees to Goth. Scene three, “Rome a public place,” narrates how Marcus, Titus, Young Lucius, Sempronius, Publicis, and Cacius deliberate over Tamora’s injustices and send the clown to deliver a message to the emperor. The clown conveys the letter to the emperor and he is killed (Shakespeare & Waith, 2008). Aemilius then enters the emperor’s presence to inform him that the Goth people led by Lucius, son of Titus, are planning to attack Rome. Saturninus fears because the Rome people also favor Lucius. Thus, Tamora decides to sweet-talk Titus to stop his son from attacking Rome.
Act five scene one titled” Plains near Rome,” begins with Lucius and Goth soldiers meeting Aaron and his baby and forcing him to confess how he aided Tamora in doing evil. Aemilius later delivers the emperor’s message to Lucius but he dismisses him referring him to talk to Titus and Marcus. Scene two titled “Before Titus house,” narrates how Tamora, Demetrius, and Chiron visit Titus to soothe him and ask for forgiveness for revenge, murder, and rape. Tamora pleads and Titus accepts to invite Lucius for a peace feast in the emperor’s presence. Tamora exits heading to invite the emperor leaving Demetrius and Chiron at Titus’ house. Titus bounds them and slits their throats. Titus grinds their bones and makes a paste out of their blood for the peace feast (Shakespeare & Waith, 2008). Scene three, “The court of Titus house,” shows the emperor attending the feast with Tamora. Marcus comes with Lucius and the Goth soldiers. Titus comes in dressed as a cook and brings in the pie made from Demetrius and Chiron’s bodies. Titus then narrates the rape to Saturninus who allows him to kill Lavinia. Thereafter, Titus also stabs Tamora. Saturninus becomes aggravated to kill Titus and Lucius kills Saturninus in revenge for his father. In the end, Lucius has announced emperor of Rome.
In conclusion, the play “Titus Andronicus” revolves around two camps revenging for the murder of their loved ones. Thus, love for family is strongly depicted because both camps did outrageous things in the form of murder rape, beheading, and cutting off body parts just to avenge the murder of their loved ones. However, the play is inhumane and blood-filled.
Shakespeare, W., & Waith, E. M. (2008). Titus Andronicus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shakespeare, W., McDonald, R., & Orgel, S. (2000). Titus Andronicus. New York, NY [u.a.: Penguin Books