Loyalty in the Plays of Medea and Titus Andronicus

Topics: Titus Andronicus, Tragedy, Family Pages: 6 (1483 words) Published: December 16, 2014
Margarita Paredes
Prof. Cross
English 110
Final Essay 2

In August of 2003 Larry W. Wilson wrote, “…loyalty is like the juice of an orange – the flavor cannot be determined until the orange is squeezed beyond the breaking point. The Bible testifies to the truthfulness of this statement. Loyalty is one of the most powerful forces within the human heart. Loyalty can produce good results, and misplaced loyalty can produce evil results..(Wilson) In the plays of Medea and Titus Andronicus we are shown that a specific model of loyalty is morally correct and that loyalty to our families is more important than being loyal to the state, but in fact neither model is right because loyalty can be given to anyone who we have honesty and/or intimacy with; investing wrongly leads to and can cause destruction and tragedy when we are loyal to the wrong things or people. In both plays and other fairy tales in like The Brothers Grimm , such as “The Juniper Tree”, we see these twisted ideas of loyal and are left with the idea that we must either be loyal to the state or to the family. No matter which one is chosen, state or family, it is apparent that misplaced loyalty can bring us to some sort of tragedy or even a fatality. In the beginning of the play Titus Andronicus , we are introduced to Titus, a brave warrior of Rome. It is so clear that he would do anything to protect the Romans even if it means sacrificing his own life. Titus even recruits his own children to go to war with the Goths. He will

do whatever it takes to keep the people safe even if it means putting his family in danger, his loyalty belongs to the state. Upon his return to Rome he brings back prisoners Tamora and her 3 sons, 1 of which Titus murders right in front of them. “Religiously they ask a sacrifice , To this your son is marked, and die he must.”( TitI.i.127-128) Titus has no choice but to murder Tamora’s first born son , and it is simply procedure for him. He is looked at by the state to sacrifice a prisoner of the Goths, and that’s exactly what he does. He goes to drastic measures to keep his commitment to the state regardless of how heartless the act is. Taking a life is just an order he carries out, but is tragic at the same time because he has gone as far as to take someone’s life and that’s just not right. “ A better head her glorious body fits” , Titus says, “Than his that shakes for age and feebleness “ (TitI.i.190-191) Titus’s commitment to Rome has been proven time and time again and he is elected to be the new emperor , but he declines and Saturninus is first in line for the royal seat. Titus is wrong to misplace his loyalty with the state because an innocent person’s life’s is taken as the family is forced to sit front and center and watch. Later on in the play we see how the initial murder of Tamoras first son starts great revege against Titus and his family. By trusting and commiting to the state he has put his loved ones in great danger. Chiron and Demetrius, Tamoras remaining sons show us their loyalty to family by going after Titus’s daughter Lavinia. The brothers see it very important to be loyal to their mother, and their animalistic thoughts (persuaded by Aaron , Tamoras secret lover) lead them to rape Lavinia. Even though the boys seem right to avenge their brother’s death and

remain loyal to their family; they commit a horrific crime by “deflowering” and leaving Lavinia stranded in the middle of nowhere without her purity, hands or tongue. Demetrius and Chiron are just as wrong as Titus was when he murdered their older brother. This family lacks honesty but they are a commited to eachother simply because they are related. Although Tamora is their mother , she isnt a trustworthy person and we know this because she betrays the Goths by becoming emperess of Rome. All she wants is revenge and power over Titus and she goes to extremes by using her own children to do so .Demetrius and Chiron bring horror to Lavinia and...

Cited: Zipes, Jack. The Complete Fairytales of the Brothers Grim. US. Bantam. 1857.

Wilson, W Larry. “Daniel 6 The Question of Loyalty”. Wake Up America Seminars Inc.n.p. Aug 2003. Web. Oct 2014.< https://www.wake-up.org/Daniel/DanChap5.htm>
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