Titus Andronicus

The Symbol of the Roman Body Politic 11th Grade

One dominant idea that is recurrent throughout Titus Andronicus is the symbolism of the ‘body of Rome’, which acts as a metaphorical parallel to the events of the text. This motif follows the changing statuses of the characters and power structures within the play and emphasises the downfall of the Roman Empire. The play follows the leader of the Roman army, Titus Andronicus, and his struggle for power after corruption within the empire’s ruling force. Despite the text extrinsically focussing on Rome it also presents ideas about the English monarchy of the Elizabethan era. The incompletion of the body in the first act can be labelled as the defining factor in the events of the play and the cause of the eventual crumble of the empire, furthered by the continual severing of body parts and bloodshed. The body of Rome metaphor present in Titus Andronicus demonstrates the tearing apart of Rome’s body politic by power imbalances and civil unrest.

The exposition of the play is paralleled by the motifs used in Titus Andronicus, which also explain the rise and downfall of the central characters and thus the Empire. The ‘body of Rome’, more importantly the head of this body symbol emphasises the...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 724 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4178 literature essays, 1402 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in