Morality of Violent Revenge in Titus Andronicus

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The Morality of Violent Revenge in Titus Andronicus Titus Andronicus is renowned for being one of Shakespeare’s more violent and torturous works. Many characters undergo gruesome mutilation as well as inflict physical pain against their fellow man. Some of the most notable scenes of violence include the rape of a young woman, a triple homicide and a live burial. With all the acts of violence one must step back and try and understand why this work involves deaths of more than a dozen characters. Was Shakespeare trying to simply tell a story of revenge? Of course there is the possibility that Shakespeare included all the violence to teach a lesson to those who view his works. The persistent physical mutilation and injury in Titus Andronicus shows the audience that violence, in the name of revenge, is considered a social and moral norm, especially when said violence is argued as necessary. Over and over again the audience watches characters commit physical sins against their peers; however some characters seem completely justified in their actions while others do not. Titus is the prime example of a character that commits acts of physical violence and possesses reasoning for such acts that is acceptable and justifiable. No other character questions if Titus is being excessive and no form of punishment burdens him all because of the motivation and justification he provides for his crimes. Titus bakes Chiron and Demetrius in a pie and not one character questions it. Instead, Titus provides Chiron and Demetrius as scapegoats and brings up the crimes they have commit against his daughter, as seen in Act 5, Scene 2, lines 154-155: “Fie, Publius, fie! Thou art too much deceived. / The one is Murder, Rape is the other’s name.” Titus personifies Chiron and Demetrius’ crimes by replacing their names with their wrong doings. By choosing to replace Chiron and Demetrius with

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