In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, female violence and ultimate rebellion is displayed. Women have gone through oppression for centuries and this sometimes could push women into rebellion and violence. The society in which these women are brought up in is a clear definition of misogyny. Titus could easily decide to kill Tamora’s son, his ability to decide who Lavinia could marry and his final decision and ability to kill his daughter Lavinia if only to dispose of his family shame. After Lavinia was raped, his father bore a great resentment for his daughter. He saw her as an unending source of shame. In a way; we could compare Lavinia’s relationship with his father as master-servant or master-subject kind of relationship. The father believed that he could control every aspect of her life. Even the time she ought to die. He told the guests a story of a father who once killed his daughter after she was gruesomely raped. That is the time he decides to seizes and kills his daughter, Lavinia (Beta 60-1).
Titus likes to control all the aspects of his daughter’s life. He wants to marry her off to Saturninus, after he was declared the new emperor although it was seen as controversial. He then announced that he was going to marry Lavinia as a way to thank and give honor to Titus. He says he wants to make Lavinia "Rome's royal mistress" (Beta 241). This made Titus very excited and he supported this. Bassianus, is not pleased by what is going on. He was betrothed to Lavinia and it was clear to all that he was justified so.
Titus knew this but he felt he was only supposed to be loyal to the new emperor. Bassainus and Marcus escape with Lavinia. This can be said to be a rebellious character of Lavinia towards his father. When Titus tries to follow them, Mutius refuses to let him leave and this outrages Titus who consequently kills Mutius by stabbing him. Titus is seen as a very chauvinistic person as he was only interested in bringing Lavina back to the king. This is where his hate started intensifying for Lavina because she did not want to obey his wish (Bate 243).
Titus is seen as respecting his daughter. Despite her wish not to be married to the emperor, Titus goes ahead and tries to prevent her from escaping. Titus only concern was to return avinia to the king (Beta 214). After Titus stabbed and killed Mutius and was not even remorseful for this. Saturninus, was bent on disposing the general and therefore he decides to implicate him in the kidnapping of Lavinia. This was very disturbing for Titus. Saturninus announces his intention to marry Tamora. Tamora gladly accepts. The emperor likens Lavinia’s kidnap to rapping Rome. Tamora pretended to forgive and reconcile with the people who had killed his eldest son. She argues that she could not revenge at the time since the empire could revolt and therefore she chose a later time for her vengeance (Bate 144). Saturninus also agrees with her plan and decides to pretend to forgive Titus and the family.
Titus is bitter and vengeful. He decided to avenge the shame that Lavinia had brought to him and his family. This was seen when he said told a story to some guests about a father who had killed his own daughter after she was raped by a king and had humiliated his family. He then goes ahead and kills her (Beta 188-9).
As they are in the forest with the newly married meet Titus and his family in the deep forest. The two brothers confirm their intensions to each other. Bassianus is stabbed to death by the two brothers and then drags Lavinia and rapes her. This incident really affected Titus. Titus was affected to the point that he behaved like a mad person. Thing were happening too fast around him that he could not withstand. This shows the love that he had for his daughter. Therefore we could say Titus portrayed love for his daughter.
Titus is a murderous and inhuman person. His character is seen when he goes ahead and kills Mutius then later his own daughter. His bitterness towards those that had purnished him or gone against his will is portrayed with a lot of bitterness which ultimately leads to murder. Aaron then puts blame on Titus sons for Bassianus murder. Saturninus decrees that the sons of Titus be executed. Lavinia’s tongue and hands had been cut off after she was raped. She therefore could not report the person who did it to her father Titus. After, the gruesome act, the boys left Lavinia in the woods alone. Murcus discover her as he retreats from his hunt and he is extremely aggrieved. Martius and Quintus were found guilty and as they were being taken to the execution site, there father Titus pleaded with the senators and the judges to no avail.
At this point, Titus is a very bitter person. He feels that Lavinia is the cause of all his misery. Before the execution, a word from the kings arrives and Titus is given a chance to save his sons (Bate 2002). He was to severe his arms which would act as payment for his mistakes. He is excited and tells Aaron to chop hand off. His hand is chopped off but as soon as this is done, the heads of his two sons are brought. He realizes that this was a trick and he becomes too bitter. He sends word to Lucius to the Goths to prepare an army to fight against Saturninus and Tamora. Lavinia, using the book Lucius is reading, directs Marcus and Titus to the section about the rape of Philomel who was raped by, Tereus, king of Thrace. Marcus and Titus make a good and quick connection of this. Lavinia then write the names of his attackers on the sand. Titus and Marcus vow to revenge this. Titus is a caring father. He cares for his daughter and vows to repay and defend her daughter’s image and pride.
Titus sets a trap for the two rapists, Chiron and Demetrius. Aaron realizes that Titus may have discovered what they did. He keeps this to himself (Bate 2002). Tamora bares a son who was born of Moor and not the king. They kill the nurse. They leave with the body of the dead nurse, and Aaron plans to take his baby to the Goths for safety
Saturninus believes that Titus is pretending to be insane. He found messages that were send to him by Titus in arrows. Titus was writing messages that were inflammatory that would make the emperor look unfair for the people. The clown, whom Titus had sent with a message, delivers it. Saturninus instantly orders that the clown be hanged and in rage swears to kill Titus himself barehanded.
Bate, Jonathan, ed. “Titus Andronicus”. The Arden Shakespaere. Third Series. London: Arden Shakespearse, 2002.