Critical analysis of parents with their children and the broad theory of parenting in Titus Andronicus

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Critical analysis of parents with their children and the broad theory of parenting in Titus Andronicus. The major cases under consideration are Tamora, Titus and Aaron. The general and broad theory of parenting has been analyzed using these three principal cases as the benchmarks.


Titus Andronicus play is a revenge tragedy, which is fascinating and reveals human personality and character.


Titus Andronicus play presents characters whose interactions make the play interesting and worrying. The characters treat their families differently and uniquely depending of the circumstances at hand. Shake spares’ Titus Andronicus play is a revenge tragedy, which is fascinating and reveals human personality and character. The brilliant selection of the characters of the play, whose diverse personalities interact with a brutal and unforgiving setup, draws the audience into the personality-disoriented world. The author clearly portrays the functional and dysfunctional differences in the characters of the play (Shakespeare, William.1999, 371). The characters evoke sympathy from the audience in almost every act of this play however; they maintain the brutality and revenge towards one another on family lines, which comes into a terrifying climax that leaves a few of the characters alive. The way Shakespeare slays his characters in this tragedy play is elaborate and worrying that leaves one to wonder whether the characters had any meaning in the playwright. This thesis is about how different characters interact with their children in the play and how their interactions compare with the broader theory of parenting (Brower, 1979, 26-28). Focus will be on major characters of the play such as Tamora, Titus and Aaron.

How does Tamora treat her sons? Concentrate especially on her plea in Act 1 scene one, and her interaction with her sons in Act 2, scene three

Tamora is a loving mother and likes her sons so much. When Titus demanded the sacrifice of Tamora’s son, Tamora pleads for the son’s rescue but all in vain. She cried for his son passionately but Titus remained stubborn until he offered Tamora’s son as a ransom to appease the spirits of his death sons. From the play, Tamora pleads “victorious Titus rue the tears I shed, a mothers tears in passion for his son” the pleading shows how the mother loved his son and how she treated him with respect. She does not want his son to be slaughtered in the streets and that is the reason she asks rhetorically “but, must my son be slaughtered in the streets,…” in act two scene three, Tamora is very bitter when he remembers the way Titus scarified his son despite her pleas. She encourages his sons to avenge the sacrifice of their brother by raping the daughter of Titus. She calls his sons sweet revealing that he loved them so much and relied on them to avenge for her. She encourages the sons to commit crime by raping Titus daughter regardless of the consequences of the crime. She is a mother who could take risks and going as far as risking the death of his other sons by asking them to revenge by committing crime. She commends them by saying “so should I rob my sweet sons of their fee: no let them satisfy their lust on thee”. As the play unfolds, Chilon and Demetrius rape Lavina and amputees, her limps and tongue. Tamora treats his sons with an elevated respect and she instigates the feeling of animosity to Lavina when she lies to her sons. She portrays an antisocial behavior when she closes her ears to the peas of Lavina before the rape and mutilation tragedy occurs. She threatens her sons with the loss of love if they do not go ahead to rape Lavina. Tamora portrays antisocial personality disorder by holding parental love for ransom. She manages to convince his sons to carry out such a heinous deed of raping and mutilating Lavina as revenge for the slaughter of her son. This is an exhibition of extreme ruthlessness, and unrestrained lusciousness’.

How does Titus treat his offspring?

The story of Titus Andronicus when he returns from a worrier from war is dramatic in the way he reacts to situations. The return of Titus with the corpse of his son who he had lost in war is a clear indication that he was passionate father who loved his offspring and could not leave the body of his son rot in the fields of war. After the sounds of the trumpets and drums before the burial of Titus son, he gives a speech and laments for loosing may of his sons in war. Titus loves his son Lucius very much until he offers to fulfill his demand of a human sacrifice as a way of mourning the loss of his brother. Timor’s son is chosen by Titus to be sacrificed to appease the spirits Titus’s death offspring. He sticks to religion and tradition and refuses to listen to Tamora’s pleas of his first-born son, finally slaughters Alarbus Tamora’s son in cold blood as a ransom for the death of his sons and fellow citizens.

Titus wants his children to be like him that is why he goes an extra mile to make very dangerous moves for the sake of his offspring. He dares and kills Tamora’s son an act that leads to bitter rivalry between the two families. Tamora and her remaining two sons swear to avenge the death of Alarbus, which they finally accomplish by raping and mutilating Lavina Titus daughter. Titus is un-understandable; he lamented the death of his sons during the war and even sacrificed human blood to appease their spirits but turns out to be ironical when he stabs his son to death. He reacts brutally to his son killing him and still pursues his daughter Lavina to return her back to the emperor. He reacts unjustly and remorselessly to his son Mutius whom he stubs to death. Titus portrays this merciless and inhuman behavior even though he was fighting to get access to his daughter whom Mutius was denying him asses to before he is stubbed to death.Titus manages to bring her daughter to the emperor together with his lover. Tamora pretends to plead mercy for Titus against punishment for kidnapping Lavina. Tamora was only cheating on Titus when indeed in the heart she had great wrath of revenging all the Titus had done to her. When an opportune moment arrives, the sons of Tamora gets hold of Lavina whom they lusted for, they raped her, and mutilated her so that she could not be able to tell Titus who tortured her. When news went all over about Lavinas issue, they plotted that, the sons of titus are the ones who raped and mutilated Lavina. Titus offers himself to be cut a hand so that his sons are pardoned from slaughter sentence. It is an expression of true father love to his family and offspring. Titus decided to kill her daughter whom he loved very much to rescue her from her misery. He did this act out of love and did not want to continue seeing her beloved daughter suffer the consequences of rape and mutilation. Titus swears to revenge for the brutal actions committed to his family, which he finally fulfils by preparing the pie, and uses it to kill Tamora


Aaron is a protagonist in the story, his actions and behaviors reveal him as a loving husband to his lover and his kids he celibates Tamora’s tile and knows that the success of Tamora is his as well. Aaron is in full support of the revenge mission against Titus over the slaughter of Tamora’s son. He is the one who proposes that Chiron and Demetrius rape and mutilate Lavina. Aaron impregnated Tamora the emperor’s queen and at birth Tamora gives birth to a black baby, whom the nurse asks Aaron to kill but he refuses. The refusal to kill his own baby shows how Aaron is a responsible farther, he even plans on how he will take this baby to the Goths for protection. Aaron is again found protecting his kid when they are captured by a Goth and sentenced to hang. He tells Lucius that he will confess everything if his child was spared. When his plea is heard, he confesses how Chiron and Demetrius raped and mutilated Lavina. He boldly unfolds the hidden stories and brags about his evil part in them. Aaron is very defiant and brave in defending his family even when situations are unfriendly.

What do these comparisons say about a broader theory of parenting that might be present in Titus Andronicus?

The shake spares Titus Andronicus comparisons of how different parents treat their children say a lot about the parenting theory. For instance, right away from the beginning of the story Titus is seemed to treat his sons with respect and love. When he returns to the emperor, he laments the death of his sons and desires that they remain to be like him a true warrior. However, as the play unfolds, Titus stubs his son ruthlessly to death. One wonders which parent can do such a horrible thing and not worry or feel sorry. His parental love is questionable. To make matters worse he kills his daughter Lavina only to comfort himself that he killed her to rescue him from her misery of rape and mutilation. Which parent with true paternal love can kill his children as easily as Titus does? He is a cruel, unforgiving, harsh parent (Swick, Johnson, 2011,p.g56-98).

On the other hand, Tamora expresses true love for his children, he loves his sons and this is the reason why he pleads for his sons sacrifice decree. The reveals maternal love to his sons only, her love and care are questionable when he gives a deaf ear to the pleas of Lavina over rape and mutilation from his sons. As a mother and feminist, she should not have left Lavina to be raped and mutilated. In addition, her morals are questioned given that she loved Aaron and yet she is married to the emperor, when she gives birth to a back child, she abandons the child and requests that Aaron kills the infant. According to Greenblatt, Stephen et. al., eds. (1999),This clearly shows a picture of antisocial, racist and discriminative mother who is careless on matters of live and its dignity(p.g 47-90).

Aaron is a supper man, despite the whole community declaring the birth of the black baby an abomination to the emperor; he stands firm and protect his child. When the nurse and the sons of Tamora asks him to kill the child he refuses and makes planed to take the child to goal to be protected. When him and the kid are captured and returned to the emperor and a death sentence is declared upon then, he still goes ahead to plead for the kid. He promises to confess all if his child is spared. When his plea is granted he confesses the hidden part f the story boldly and courageously knowing that even if he dies the child will be save. This is a true parental spirit and fatherly love.

Works cited

Brower, Reuben A. “Titus Andronicus: Villainy and Tragedy.” In Shakespeare: TheTragedies, edited by Robert B. Heilman, 28-36. Englewood, 1979.

Greenblatt, Stephen ET. al., Eds. The Norton Shakespeare Based on the Oxford Edition. New

York: Norton, 371, 1997.

Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Greenblatt, Stephen. New York, NY: Norton, 371 – 434, 1997.

Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. 1. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.

Swick, Johnson: “Cultural influences on parenting: Implications for parent educators”. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 12(2), 80-85, 2011.