Titus Andronicus: Play Analysis

1133 Words5 Pages
Natalie Bauer
Professor Glenn Simshaw
Shakespeare’s Tragedies SC Core
March 9th, 2018
Ceasing Civilisation
Titus Andronicus, William Shakespeare’s play, is known for its violence. It focuses on horror and violence, gruesome suffering, savage mutilations, multiple slaughters, vengeance, and evil. The play includes fourteen deaths, one burial alive, four severed body parts, cannibalism, and one rape. All of this violence is demonstrative of the theme of savagery. The play presents the idea that peace is an artificial state, suggesting that war is the natural way of being. This explains the setting of Rome, an empire which was at war for the vast majority of its history. The play depicts the Roman conversion from civility to barbarism, and poses
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I will grind your bones to dust
And with your blood and it I 'll make a paste,
And of the paste a coffin I will rear
And make two pasties of your shameful heads,
And bid that strumpet, your unhallow 'd dam,
Like to the earth swallow her own increase.
This is the feast that I have bid her to,
And this the banquet she shall surfeit on;
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He then slays them. Titus, once presented as so noble and merciful, subjects the boys to the torture of knowing their fates before killing them in front of each other. In the next scene, Titus goes on to murder his daughter to preserve his family’s honour before revealing to Tamora that she has eaten the bodies of her children, and killing her. The cycle of violence is continued, when Saturninus kills Titus in retribution, and Lucius kills Saturninus. The final act of the play is pure chaos. No more heed is paid to the concept of the Romans and the Goths, as nearly every character has engaged in violence and predatory behavior. The civilised have become savages in the names of revenge, justice, and tradition. Rome appears to have simply embraced barbarism, and the violence is demonstrative of this savagery. In Titus Andronicus, by William Shakespeare, the Goths and the Romans are used to explore the ideas of civilisation and savagery. The two groups suffer from mutilations, murders, and other unspeakable acts at the hands of their opponents, all in the name of revenge. Shakespeare toys with the idea of what it means to be civilised, noble, and merciful. Then he shows how it easily these virtues can be abandoned. By the climax of the play, civilisation has ceased, destroyed in the name of

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