Titus Andronicus Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Titus Andronicus book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How is fate presented?

Expert Answers info

Noelle Matteson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write239 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Fate in Titus Andronicus is notoriously cruel. Titus loses dozens of sons in a war with the Goths. He also stands by Rome’s traditions most loyally, serving Rome as a soldier for years and even killing a son whom he deems traitorous to Rome. As tradition espouses, Titus supports the oldest son of the emperor. Unfortunately, as fate has it, the oldest son Saturninus is an unsuitable ruler. He even marries Tamora, former Queen of the Goths. Because Tamora is now Rome’s empress, she is able to enact vengeance on Titus for sacrificing her eldest son, once again in the name of Roman custom. After all Titus has done for the state, he is still ostracized and two of his sons are sentenced to death for a crime they did not commit.

However, the play is not so much about vicious fortune as vicious people. Titus cries to the stones because “A stone is soft as wax--tribunes more hard than stones.” He realizes that Rome, the place he fought for all his life, “is but a wilderness of tigers.” Tamora’s sons mutilate and rape Titus’s daughter Lavinia, Tamora’s slave and lover Aaron tricks Titus into cutting off his hand, and Aaron frames two of Titus’s sons for murder. In the end, Titus bakes Tamora’s wicked sons into a pie and feeds it to her. The play concludes in a bloodbath. These monstrous events are due to the choices of a number of individuals rather than to random fate.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial