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Justice in Titus Andronicus

             The dominant forces behind Shakespeare's play, Titus Andronicus are the concepts of revenge and justice. From the protagonist all the way to the smallest role in the play, every character has an agenda dependant upon these themes.
             Revenge is caused by someone's actions that would anger you enough to make you want "to inflict punishment in return for injury or insult" (Dictionary). This is true for most of the characters in the play Titus Andronicus.
             Justice is "the principle of moral rightness and the upholding of what is just" (Dictionary).
             In Titus Andronicus most of the actions done for revenge were not "just". There was no need to do the things that they did. "It has 14 killings, 9 of them on stage, 6 severed members, 1 rape (or 2 or 3, depending on how you count), 1 live burial, 1 case of insanity, and 1 of cannibalism-an average of 5.2 atrocities per act or, one for every 97 lines." (Carducci). A lot of critics actuallyrefer to Titus Andronicus as being Shakespeare's worst play ever. "Titus Andronicus is the bloodiest of Shakespeare's tragedies. Cannibalism, mutilation, gang-rape and ritual sacrifice may well have delighted audiences of the 1590's, but later critics branded it the worst play." (allanguthrie).
             In the very beginning of the play, Titus is insulted when Saturninus decides to marry Tamora rather than Titus" daughter Lavinia. By immediately declaring the prisoners' freedom Saturnine devalues this present and by marrying Tamora instead of Lavinia he not only misreads Titus' intentions deliberately but he also breaks the conventions of "the exchange of women" by disregarding the symbolic value of both Tamora and Lavinia, by misreading their bodies (Marti).
             Saturninus only wanted to marry Lavinia because of Titus" status and his family's popularity throughout Rome. If Saturninus had married Lavinia, then he would have won over the favor of a lot of Romans. He wanted to be more popular than both Bassianus and Titus.

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