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What about the women?

William Shakespeare lived in the Early Modern Period or the English Renaissance. During the English Renaissance, cutting edge philosophy and societal beliefs — which were strongly rooted in the church — preached the importance of all men securing a seat for themselves in heaven or the afterlife and how to understand men’s roles and responsibilities in life. Men were encouraged to be educated, how to be successful and to reach salvation from sin in life. But, what about all of the women in this era? Without them, there would be nobody; no William Shakespeare either. There was Queen Elizabeth I, the mother of England who took no husband. You go girl Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed the plays written by Shakespeare and often employed his theater troop to perform at court.

 

Titus Andronicus

In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Tamora — Queen of the Goths — gets the ultimate revenge on the male tragic hero, Titus who is her captor and natural born enemy as a Roman. It is almost inspiring to read a play by Shakespeare in which a woman has her own super bad ass plan all along and executes it perfectly. Tamora is not only an inspiration for women to take charge but also scary because her plan get back at Titus is so violent. Her first mode of action is to have her two son’s rape Titus’s daughter, Lavinia… Pretty harsh, huh? Tamara’s lover, Aaron the moor, advises Chiron and Demetrius (Tamora’s sons) to play out their mother’s wishes:

A solemn hunting is at hand…

Fitted by kind of rape and villainy.

Single you thither then this dainty doe,

And strike her home by force…

Our empress, with her sacred wit

To villainy and vengeance consecrate…

The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull.

There speak and strike, brave boys, and take your turns.

There serve your lust, shadowed from heaven’s eye… (2.1.119-138).

The “hunting” that Aaron is referring to is a hunt put on by Titus. Everyone will be participating in the hunt which is the perfect distraction for Chiron and Demetrius to steal away Lavinia and destroy her purity, her worth, and her dignity. Tamora has no remorse for what will become Lavinia. Her ultimate goal is to get revenge on Titus for capturing her and just for being her enemy because he is a Roman and she is a Goth. Protecting the family name and the values that go with that name is what is driving Tamora in her come back against Titus. Choosing to woods as a place to execute the rape so that no one will be around to see it happen is perfect so that no one gets prosecuted, even though Titus does get back at Tamora, she threw the first punch.

Lavinia on the other hand is a very submissive character, much more like reality the expectations of a woman from the English Renaissance era. She is quiet, beautiful, chaste, and loyal to her father but is helpless when it comes Tamora’s evil plan. Lavinia is seen as the icon for Rome through her father’s eyes and Tamora knows this. Tamora’s plan to ruin Lavinia’s dignity not only ruins Lavinia but it also ruins Titus and Rome. If the icon of Roma has been dismantled and mutilated then so has the country which ultimately means that Tamora has conquered Rome.

What about the women?

William Shakespeare lived in the Early Modern Period or the English Renaissance. During the English Renaissance, cutting edge philosophy and societal beliefs — which were strongly rooted in the church — preached the importance of all men securing a seat for themselves in heaven or the afterlife and how to understand men’s roles and responsibilities in life. Men were encouraged to be educated, how to be successful and to reach salvation from sin in life. But, what about all of the women in this era? Without them, there would be nobody; no William Shakespeare either. There was Queen Elizabeth I, the mother of England who took no husband. You go girl Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed the plays written by Shakespeare and often employed his theater troop to perform at court.