Essay on Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

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Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is the most brutal and violent play written between 1590 and 1593 (Shakespeare and McDonald xxviiii). It is considered to be one of his earlier attempts to tragedy as it foreshadows many themes for his later plays. Themes of love, family relations, death, and power in Titus Andronicus emulates in plays like King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth; however, Titus Andronicus makes readers’ question the authorships of this play as, the later plays are compared to be well written. Yet, the word “black” appears numerously in Titus Andronicus, especially with the character of Aaron, a Moor. “Black” is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “Designating the darkest colour possible, that of soot, coal, the sky on a …show more content…
Just by the definition we can characterize Aaron as being different from the Romans and the Goths in Titus Andronicus. At the end of Act 3 Scene 2, Marcus finishes killing a fly (Shakespeare 3.2.53), yet the black- humour against Aaron, a Moor, is apparent when Marcus says, “Pardon me, sir; it was a black ill-favored fly, / Like to the empress’ Moor; therefore I killed him” (3.2.66-67). This comparison of Aaron a Moor to a black coloured fly characterizes him as weak and feeble. When Marcus says “black ill-flavored” (3.2.66) he means black and ugly. Marcus suggests Aaron a Moor is unimportant and less powerful in status amongst the Goths and Romans. He is seen as a fly on a wall that cannot do anything but follows Tamora’s orders. Titus heightens the humor when he says,
Give me thy knife, I will insult on him,
Flattering myself as if it were the Moor…
Yet, I think, we are not brought so low but that between us we can kill a fly
That comes in likeness of a coal-black Moor. (3.2.71-78) Titus makes fun of Aaron a Moor by saying they are better than him, and that they would not be punishable for their murders because they could not be “brought so low/” (3.2.76). Calling Aaron a Moor, “coal-black” (3.2.78) may seem like an adjective describing the colour, black, but it acts as a racist remark when used with comparing him with an animal like a fly. Yet, animals are not the only beings that are used in racist remarks; Greek

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