Barbarism in Titus Andronicus

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Barbarism in Titus and Andronicus

Through the history of man kind the issue of civility (being civilized) has been incredible in its divisive powers. In ancient civilizations civility was attributed to nobility, those born into wealthy and upper class families were seen as more civilized while those born without distinction were deemed savage or less than civilized. As humanity has progressed the concept of civility changed from a birthright to a difference of ideology. This distinction deepened into even more divisive sects with the rise of universal religions like Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. From this point on one was civilized or savage based purely on belief, a claim that any religion could make against another until the advancements in technology. These religions along with their more advanced technology gave their believers the justification to go out and “civilize” the barbarian non-believers. Technological advancement became the yardstick by which civility was measured. Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus seriously questions these preconceived ideas of civility. Although, the Roman’s have more advanced technology and stable (Senate) government they fall into the same category of barbarism as the Goth’s because of the violence they partake in and their disloyalty.

The kingdom of Rome is known as one of the greatest in ancient history. It was renowned for it’s military might, rich culture, and sheer size. It was also well respected for its great democracy and leadership. Even though the Romans had such developed social systems they fell pray their barbaric tendencies. Act one of Titus Andronicus gives voice to the major shortcomings of the Roman’s in this play. When the play opens we find Saturninus and Bassianus two sons of Rome bickering in the street over who will be crowned emperor. This debate between the two men while full of decorum underlies the lack of unity. In sharp contrast to the in fighting of the Roman royal family Tamora is can be...
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