Titus and manifestations of parenthood

Titus, a film interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, puts a modern spin on the old story of family based revenge. Throughout the film, the audience is subject to constant bloodshed and violence that revolves around personal relationships and vendettas. Through all of the trials and tribulations that Titus goes through, there is a noticeable theme of family loyalty. Something that emerges from his family loyalty is a prominent theme that parents are willing to sacrifice greatly to protect their children. This theme plays a central role in driving the story forward and promoting the violence.

The general Titus Andronicus is one of the main characters of the film, and from some perspectives could be considered the protagonist. In the film as in the play, Titus has five children: Lucious, Quintus, Martius, Mutius and Lavina.

Early on in the movie, Saturninus, the newly crowned emperor of Rome demands the hand of Titus’s daughter Lavinia in Marriage. Lavinia refuses, and Titus’s sons aid her in her escape. Titus becomes furious with this event, and chases his children to get them to come back to Saturninus. In his pursuit, Titus kills his son Mutius who is attempting to thwart him from getting to Lavinia. Although this event shines negatively upon Titus as a parent, it will serve as important later on.

Time stamp (29:21)- Titus stabs his son, who is attempting to thwart him

 One of the demonstrations of the lengths that Titus was willing to go for his children is seen when Aaron tricks him into cutting off his hand as ransom for his kidnapped sons. When Bassianus, the brother of Saturninus is murdered, Saturninus sees an opportunity to get revenge on Titus because of his daughters refusal for marriage. Titus’ sons Martius and Quintus were framed by Aaron for this murder and arrested by Saturninus. Aaron tells Titus that Saturninus will release his sons, if he or one of his family cut off their hand and give it to him. This is a ploy by Aaron to trick Titus into cutting off his right hand which is highlighted many times as his strong hand in the film. The fact that Titus cuts off his hand for the freedom of his sons is a demonstration of his love for his family and his paternal instinct to sacrifice greatly for his sons.

Time stamp (1:19:49)- Titus reacts to the pain of having his hand cut off

Another time that Titus demonstrates his willingness to go to great lengths to honor one of his children is when his daughter Lavinia is kidnapped by Tamora’s sons. The two violently rape the girl, and cut off her tongue and hands to protect themselves from getting caught. When Titus eventually discovers that Tamora’s sons Demetrius and Chiron were responsible for this, he vows revenge. Titus eventually captures Demetrius and Chiron and kills them. He then turns the boys into a pie that he feeds to Tamora and Saturninus. After revealing to her that she had just digested her sons, Titus kills Tamora. This plan that Titus carries out is that of a distraught and angry father willing to go to any length to cause pain to those who had caused pain to his daughter

Time stamp (2:28:30)- Titus reacts to his murder of Tamora

Despite his children’s betrayal of him in denying the emperors marriage, Titus remains a loving father. Despite killing his son, Titus is able to remain a loving father and when his children are in trouble, sees it as his role to protect them from harm. He sees beyond his role as an important General and uses his intelligence and cunning to trick Demetrius and Chiron and get revenge for the crimes against his children. A demonstration of this love is Titus’s ability to realize the pain and shame of his daughter and kill her in order to rid her of this pain.

Time stamp (2:27:19)- Titus prepares to kill his daughter


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