Titus Andronicus Research Paper

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Titus Andronicus is possibly one of Shakespeare's earliest plays written as early as 1589. The tragic play's violence and horror centers around revenge which audiences found extremely popular during the 16th century. As Shakespeare connects revenge to the plot and characters of the play, he develops appearance versus reality as a significant theme. Therefore, Shakespeare’s play is not what it appears to be. In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, he emphasizes the theme through Titus' frenzied anguish, Tamora's manipulative nature, and Aaron's declarative deeds to show the contrast between how the play presents its characters versus what really happens as the actions of each character in the play defines them far more than their speech. First,…show more content…
Aaron is a quandary. What few acts he does commit are usually directed by Tamora, as Aaron says, "And when I told the empress of this sport, / She swooned almost at my pleasing tale, / And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses" (Shakespeare 5.1.118-20). If she is not guiding his actions directly, she is at least providing incentives. This provides only half an explanation for his situation, as his character is not by any means entirely subject to the will of others. It seems that in what autonomy he does have, evidenced by his actions with the child, he is much better than he portrays himself. His self portrayal seems guided by his internalization of his position and class; he is an infidel in the presence of the Christians who are his masters. The reality seems that he is no less guided by principles than any of the other characters in the play. One may note the recurrent connotations in his speech with the word "black." Aaron…show more content…
Aaron represents the evil of a godless moor. Perkins says, “Aaron’s characterization and representation aligns him with the devil” (2). His character is a symbol as much as his skin color, which leaves no room for him to be defined by his personality. His status is that of the anti-crusader and Aaron plays the appearance of his role well. However, the last two lines of the first passage allow some insight into Aaron's true character. Aaron also says, "To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up; / Or else I will discover nought to thee" (Shakespeare 5.1.84-85). He seems to care more for his son than for honor, as Titus does, defying the stereotyped appearance of Titus as a hero. This affirms Aaron's commitment to his words, as he is willing to sacrifice his own life. He could make no greater pledge. His concern for the child provides a glimpse into his character, which is not all which his soliloquies present it to be. He is no more a saint than any of the others, but he is far more human than he appears. Aaron's speech contrasts with Aaron's relative lack of action compared with the other characters in the play. Aaron seems to equate thought with action, believing that what he thinks or speaks of doing is as legitimate and tangible as actions and crimes already

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