As appearances play an important role in society, so they also play an important role in William Shakespeare’s play Titus Andronicus. From the first scene to the last, Shakespeare elaborates on the theme of appearance versus reality through plot and character. The play’s plot is full of incidents and events that are not what they appear to be: from Titus’ “mental breakdown” and Tamora’s extended deceitfulness, to Aaron’s declared deeds. Each case presents a contrast between what the senses perceive and what reality presents. Some characters are defined better by their actions than their speech.
Tamora is a veritable mold for the perfect Machiavellian character. She lusts not for power as her marrying the emperor would at first suggest, but for revenge. However, she is fatally flawed since she cannot perceive the obvious signs that Titus is at some level aware of the reality around him. She is too wrapped up in her own plans, and thus denies the signs of his lucidness. Her extensive cunning and plotting are one-sided. She acknowledges but does not fully comprehend Titus’ state of mind:
TAMORA Act 5, Scene 2 (Lines 1-8)
Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment,
I will encounter with Andronicus,
And say I am Revenge, sent from below
To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.
Knock at his study, where, they say, he keeps,
To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge;
Tell him Revenge is come to join with him,
And work confusion on his enemies.
In line 6 she explicitly states that she is aware of Titus’ plotting revenge against her, yet she does not believe that he will carry his plans out as evidenced by the word “strange.” Her reas…
… middle of paper …
… reality of their state of affairs and characters. The play is swathed in deceit on diploid levels, both the plot and the underlying personalities and motivations bear disparities between appearance and reality.
Works Cited and Consulted
Bate, Jonathan. “Introduction.” Titus Andronicus. The Arden Shakespeare. London: Routledge, 1995. 1-121.
Carducci, Jane. “Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus: An Experiment in Expression.” Cahiers Elisabethains 31 (1987): 1-9.
Danson, Lawrence N. “The Device of Wonder: Titus Andronicus and Revenge Tragedies.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 16 (1974): 27-43.
Hulse, S. Clarke. “Wresting the Alphabet: Oratory and Action in ‘Titus Andronicus.”‘ Criticism 21(1979): 106-18.
Shakespeare, William. “Titus Andronicus” The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stanley Wells
The Tragic Hero of The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The Tragic Hero of The Crucible
A tragedy should bring fear and pity to the reader. A man in this tragedy should not be exceptionally righteous, but his faults should come about because of a certain irreversible error on his part. This man should find a bad or fatal ending to add to the tragedy of the story, for this man in the tragic hero. The protagonist John Proctor portrays a tragic hero in The Crucible; his hamartia of adultery causes great internal struggles, he displays hubris by challenging authority, and he encounters catastrophe through recognition and reversal.
John Proctor’s decision to betray his wife causes internal struggles and ultimately leads to his catastrophe at the end of the drama. Hamartia is the primary error of the tragic hero which provokes part of his misfortune. Proctor’s serious mistake of adultery delivers problems with Abigail Williams and indirectly causes his jailing. Abigail is a grown young woman, and yet she is an orphan who mistakes John Proctor?s sex for true love. When Proctor tells Abigail that the relationship can no longer continue, the girl becomes angry and sorrowful (1098). In order to prove Abigail?s sinfulness and to discredit her in front of the court, Proctor proclaims that he had an affair with this evil child. The outraged court officials summon Elizabeth Proctor to find the truth. When asked about her husband, Elizabeth?s soul is twisted, for reporting the truth could destroy her husband?s reputation, but lying means breaking her solemn oath to God. Because she is selfless, Elizabeth chooses to lie and save her husband, but perhaps condemn herself to hell for such a sin. This scene indicates dramatic irony, for Proctor knows that which Elizabeth is not …
… middle of paper …
…his sin of adultery, for it causes breaks in his bonds between his wife and Abigail. He grapples with authority, for Proctor is not one who listens to authority simply because it is the excepted thing to do. He also faces death because he chooses to be a noble man and denies all charges of witchcraft. Though John Proctor is not a perfect man, his beliefs and values are in the right place; he listens to his heart. When his head tells him to listen to the court because it is the law, and when Hale tells him to choose to live as an accused witch, Proctor does not listen because he knows that these acts are not in his best interest. He follows his soul, a lesson the whole world should learn to follow.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Literature, Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. Ed. Ellen Bowler, et al. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1999.