Comparative Analysis of Tamora and Lavinia
The play Titus Andronicus is mainly filled with male characters with the exception of Tamora and Lavinia. While these two women are complete opposites of each other, they both display womanly power in their own way. Tamora, who was once Queen of the Goths, goes from being a helpless prisoner to the most powerful woman in Rome. Lavinia is considered powerful as well because she is engaged to Bassinius, the son of the former Emperor of Rome. Both women exhibit helplessness and power at some point in this play.
From the beginning of the play, Tamora exhibited power to some extent. Tamora was Queen of the Goths prior to her captivity, and in the following events, she becomes the most powerful woman in Rome. By marrying the newly crowned Emperor, Saturninus, Tamora uses her power to her advantage to seek revenge towards the Andronici family for murdering her oldest son. Because Saturninus is blinded by her beauty, Tamora uses this to her advantage to manipulate him. She convinces Saturninus that she will help him get back at the Titus and his family for humiliating him in front of Rome, but has a hidden agenda because Titus made her beg for her oldest son’s life. “My lord, be ruled by me, be won at last, dissemble all your griefs and discontents; You are but newly planted in your throne; Lest then the people, and patricians too…I’ll find a day to massacre them all, And raze their faction and their family, The cruel father and his traitorous sons, to whom I sued for my dear son’s life…” (I.i.42-53). Tamora rules her sons, Chiron and Demetrius, with an iron hand, and they follow and believe their mother and her manipulative ways. Tamora goes beyond her power and betrays the bonds of womanhood by allowing her sons to take Lavinia and rape her. Lavinia begs that she is killed instead, but Tamora refuses to do so. “O Tamora, be called a gentle queen, and with thine own hands kill me in this place; For ‘tis not like that I have...
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