Lavinia 1

Lavinia as Daphne from Ovid's Metamorphoses

Titus Andronicus is Shakespeare's bloodiest play and one that has had a mixed critical reception over the years. Please respond to one of the questions and comment on one or more of your classmates' responses too. Feel free to add video or images to your post too if you find interesting material to share with the seminar. 

Lavinia's TraumaEdit

The play has at its center the violent rape and mutilation of Lavinia. Yet her status as victim seems to extend beyond the event of her rape. How does the play represent Lavinia as a victim of power beyond the violence done to her? As an extension to this question, does the play represent her as escaping her status as victim? 

The Play's OthersEdit

The play constantly shifts our sense of who or what is other than Rome: Aaron, Lavinia, Tamora, Aaron's bastard child, the Goths, or Rome itself. Where in the play does Shakespeare seem to break down the self-other binary? What is the purpose or effect in the play of deconstructing this structure that says identity and values are constructed in relation to their opposite? Put otherwise, for example, where in the play does Aaron function as the play's moral compass? Where does the play generate sympathy for Tamora? Where in the play are Roman values rent asunder? 


A Titus illustration from the late 16th century.