Titus Andronicus Essay

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If words doesn’t hurt than why do they cause intensive pain? In Titus Andronicus and King Lear, words are seemingly lessened to nothing and bodies are degraded to unhappiness. In both plays, Shakespeare lessens language and bodies to their deepest levels. Characters fail to reach their full potential of their self as defined by social or domestic expectations unexpectedly due to the destruction forced on them by both their society and of their family. In Act I of Titus Andronicus, Lavinia is praised as “Rome’s rich ornament” and Titus’s “cordial of mine age to glad my heart”; she acts both as a social and domestic object of worth and comfort (1.1.52,166). Cordelia is equally shown, as Lear describes her as the most loved of his daughters and…show more content…
As Titus tortured and killed Alarbus—despite Tamora’s begging for his life “And if thy sons were ever dear to thee, O, think my son to be as dear to me”—Tamora with the help of her evil sons will especially punish Titus through Lavinia as she will remain unpleasant to Andronicus until her death (1.1.107-8). Yet unlike Titus’s abrupt, spiritual reasons for dismembering and killing Alarbus, Tamora exudes with sinister appearances of hatred as she describes the pit, which is an indication of Lavinia’s rape and disfigurement: “here nothing breeds,” and the pit would “make such fearful and confusèd cries/As any mortal body hearing it/Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly” (2.3.98, 102-4). Tamora’s words beckons the violence needed to ruin the Andronicus. The metaphor of the pit expresses the future physical attack on Lavinia’s womanhood and body. Tamora describes ‘dreadful and muddled cries’ that anticipate Lavinia’s mute utterances and moans, and when Tamora concludes, ‘here nothing breeds,’ she skillfully curses Lavinia’s marriage to Bassianus or any other suitor because her value as a woman has been contaminated both physically and sexually. The dismemberment of Lavinia takes away all of her domestic and social value. She can no longer act as a care giver or…show more content…
According to King Lear, she is his favorite daughter; one whom he intended “to set my rest/On her kind nursery” (1.1.123-4). Lear theorizes Cordelia as his daughter and arrogantly seeks to set her up as “his mother during his second childhood.” King Lear blocks out the role(s) Cordelia plays in his world because he sees her as his daughter and caregiver; as easily as he confuses her domestic duties, so too does he confuses her beliefs of daughter against subject. In the beginning Cordelia seems to be more valued by her father than Lavinia is by Titus, but that changes fast for Cordelia. King Lear may speak of Cordelia as his most adored, his way of treating her is soon altered. It is known she is a member of the royal family, but by line 113, she is degraded socially to that of a homeless person. After King Lear’s love-test, he shames Cordelia while conversing with Burgundy because he finds that “now her price has fallen” (1.1.200). Cordelia, like Lavinia, is treated as a something that can be exchanged, who’s worth changes according to her value to the men of power that she is surrounded by. The King of France, refers to Cordelia as an ‘object’; even though he marries her and honors her, her value is still determined by a man. Cordelia even now says nothing; she doesn’t say anything about the arranged marriage France’s king as he simply takes her hand. King Lear doesn’t realize

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