Thursday, March 24, 2011

Titus Andronicus Act 4, Scene 2


the excitement is back! i have to say that my brain is FRIED from today's rehearsal, but i will do my best! have you ever devised a play before? well, let me tell you... it's exhilarating and fulfilling and fun and completely exhausting. i'm kind of happy i have this play to read right now. i'm sure i could analyze it on a much deeper level, but it is wicked enjoyable and i can follow it pretty easily. so anyway, today's scene is very entertaining, so let's get to it.

act 4, scene 2
Aaron and Tamora's sons, Demetrius and Chiron, are hanging out when young Lucius pays them a little visit. he brings a gift from Titus: weapons from Titus' own armory. Lucius informs them that Titus knows what they did and wants them to be prepared in case they find themselves in a fight. Demetrius and Chiron are flabbergasted, but Aaron doesn't see how they can be surprised since they totally deserve it.
a nurse comes in bearing a baby in her arms. it turns out that the baby is Tamora's and she is freaking out about it. and she is freaking out about it because the baby is black. the sons freak out even more than the nurse, vowing to kill it to save their mother's honor. Aaron refuses to let them kill his child and tells them off for trying to kill their brother. Aaron asks the nurse who knows about this, and she responds that it's just Tamora, the midwife, and herself. since he must keep this a secret to save his child's life, he stabs and kills the nurse.
this is Aaron's plan: his white friend in the country just had a baby. he will send them some money in exchange for the baby, who will grow up like a king. it's a win-win for the parents as far as Aaron sees it. he will also have the midwife come to see him so he can kill her too. he will send his baby back to the Goths to be raised as a warrior.

here's a question: does Aaron love Tamora? does Tamora love Aaron? or are they just friends with benefits? i need to know.

what's the context here when it comes to race and social acceptance? it feels like Shakespeare is trying to make a statement, but that of course is from my frame of reference. Aaron's feelings and actions feel justified, and it seems that that is the intention. Aaron is a jerk, but come on. again, i'm coming from a biased point of view, but it feels like the scene is slanted toward Aaron being portrayed as righteous in this particular situation. does anyone else get that from it, or is it just me?

i love this whole thing that Aaron says starting at line 117- how being black is better than being white because black people don't blush. he doesn't want his bad deeds to be given away by the color in his cheeks. ahahaha. brilliant. where did Shakespeare get that one from? genius.

death toll: 6. mutilation toll: 3. rape toll: 1.  i feel like these numbers are about to go up.

quote of the day:
'Demetrius: villain, what hast thou done?
Aaron: that which thou canst not undo.
Chiron: thou hast undone our mother.
Aaron: villain, i have done thy mother.'
   -act 4, scene 2

for tomorrow: act 4, scenes 3 and 4

-rebecca may


  1. Wow! I don't remember noticing this before, but I think Aaron's "countryman" Muli is black with a white wife. But their baby passes for white, whereas Tamora's looks "coal-black." So much Jungle Fever - I love it!

  2. ahhhh. interesting. i didn't realize that. very interesting. thanks!

  3. Yeah, I could be wrong, because Aaron does not directly say as much, but I doubt he would specify "His child is like to her, fair as you are," if both parents were white.