Titus Andronicus: Aaron Analysis

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From a quick glance, one might say that in the play “Titus Andronicus”, Aaron is the evilest person who has no remorse whatsoever for the havoc he causes. This is true. However, he has a humane side that is only visible from a deep analysis. Aaron is very drawn to his son and cares about him. He even declares death to anyone who would dare touch the child (Gross, and Shakespeare 551). We can, therefore, safely say that Aaron is not a purely evil character. From the play, it is very evident that Aaron’s evil nature is motivated by the racism that was leveled against him for being black. It seems this is the sole reason that he is so evil and enjoys the havoc that he causes. He is more sympathetic than given credit for. An analysis of his full character in the play brings out the following:

A Mastermind of All Evils; At the end of the play, the stage is left littered with a lot of bodies. Marcus looks around and realizes it is the work of Aaron. In his words, he says that Aaron is the chief architect and plotter of those woes. Everyone can agree with this assessment. From the beginning, it is clear he is after the Andronicus family. He frames Quintus and Martius for Bassianus’ death. He is also responsible for advocating the rape of Lavinia by Chiron and Demetrius and that Titus lost his hand (Gross, and Shakespeare 551).

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Aaron’s Motivation, it is tricky to know the real reasons behind Aaron’s nature and character. This is because there is no place where he comes out and mentions his motives. We can only imply from the things he said and went through. As mentioned before, Aaron is black and goes through a lot of racism (Bartels 433). He also gets to watch his son become a victim of such racism from a nurse. This could be argued to be the real reason he is so evil. On the other hand, Aaron seems to be enjoying the fact that he is so evil. He takes joy in the things he does and shows no remorse for them. One could as well say that Aaron simply likes to be evil in nature. At some point, Lucius tries to find out whether Aaron is sorry for his actions. To the surprise of everyone, Aaron states that he is only sorry that he could not do even more. He states that he did everything as willingly as one would kill a fly. Those are the words of someone who is naturally evil. However, such character must have come from somewhere and the discrimination he faced may well be the reason.

Aaron’s Race, the fact that Aaron is black is pointed out in the play so many times. It is a central part of his character. It should be noted that Shakespeare uses the words “moor” to refer to black characters. In his works, black also refers to evil. Hence the name, Aaron the moor. Throughout the play, he is regarded as a barbarous moor. The physicality and personality of Aaron are also depictive of the stereotypes that were given to black people since the 16th century (Bartels 433). Aaron seems to embrace this stereotype and also defy it at the same time. For one, he categorically declares that he loves the villainy nature. He also gets excited towards his son who is called a devil by the nurse. He finds it a joyful issue.

Aaron the Father Figure, it is interesting that Aaron comes out as the only father figure in the play. This is in contrast to the villainy he has. He is so evil that there is none compared to him in all of Shakespeare’s narratives. However, at this point, he shows great love and affection for his son who happens to be black. He shows his humanity and comes out as a sympathetic figure. Titus is responsible for the death of his two sons. There is no clear reason, however, why he does this. Tamora is also seen to be pushing for the christening of the baby with a dagger. Aaron comes out strongly against such atrocity. In fact, as mentioned, he declares death upon anyone who would dare touch his baby. Towards the end of the play, he goes the extra mile of promising to out his plans of revenge if the child will be allowed to live. This shows a very caring father unlike the rest of the people in the play (Gross, and Shakespeare 551).

In conclusion Aaron’s Punishment, throughout the play, Aaron is the sole villain who is responsible for all the havoc that is witnessed. However, he later shows such humanity that it may be argued that he deserves to be forgiven. However, this is not the case. The moment he is captured; he is set to be punished by the Romans. The punishment is so gruesome that it paints a shadow over the civility of those Romans. It is Lucius who announces Aaron’s punishment. According to the Romans, he is to be left to die after being buried alive, up to his neck. This does not seem to scare Aaron who wishes to do even more evil deeds. He even repents for any good deed that he may have done in his life. Such is his punishment and his reception of it (Gross, and Shakespeare 551).


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