In act 5, scene 2, lines 28–49 of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Tamora tries to convince Titus that she is the spirit of Revenge, and he plays along with her ruse, although he actually recognizes her. Rhetorical devices include irony, rhetorical questions, and personification. Imagery is...
In act 5, scene 2, lines 28–49 of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Tamora tries to convince Titus that she is the spirit of Revenge, and he plays along with her ruse, although he actually recognizes her. Rhetorical devices include irony, rhetorical questions, and personification. Imagery is combined with metaphor in Titus’s stated intention to drive her chariot, meaning facilitate her actions.
Tamora has previously been established as Titus’s enemy, but in disguising herself, she tries to deceive Titus into thinking that this other character, Revenge, is on his side. The irony is that Titus sees through her disguise, as he had already addressed her as Tamora, but he plays along in order to entrap her. He displays this verbal irony by using rhetorical questions, asking,
Art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me,
To be a torment to mine enemies?
Tamara’s identification as Revenge along with Titus’s descriptions of the actions of Rape and Murder show personification, the assignment of human attributes to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract concepts. Titus describes Rape and Murder as standing by her side. Another example is the personification of the sun as Hyperion.
After apparently accepting her offer of aiding his cause, Titus explains how he will help her. A metaphor is a direct comparison of unlike objects for effect. Titus uses an extended metaphor, or conceit, in saying that Revenge is driving a chariot, with which she can injure or kill people, then place their heads in the vehicle. He offers to be the driver.
Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot-wheels;
And then I'll come and be thy waggoner ....
And when thy car is loaden with their heads,
I will dismount, and by the waggon-wheel
Trot, like a servile footman, all day long ….
Within this extended metaphor, he also uses a simile, a comparison of unlike things for effect using like or as, in comparing himself to a footman.
The imagery in this speech is primarily visual, as he invokes an image of this chariot going around the world, but the tactile imagery is also employed through the sensations of the stabbings.