Titus Andronicus

Where's The Motivation?

Often instead of the gallant, chivalrous hero, it is the deceptive, wicked villain that leaves a lasting imprint on the audience. The subversive and incorrigibly horrendous actions of the villains in Shakespeare’s Othello and Titus Andronicus, especially when compared to the helpless protagonists, demonstrate how a character can leave a deep impression on the reader and audience member. Iago and Aaron the Moor, although distinct in their fashion of wreaking havoc on the lives of their victims, do share one horrifying quality that ensures their literary reputation as true agents of evil; they lack motive. Although Iago claims that his hatred of Othello stems from the alleged adultery in which his commander and wife engaged, this reason is never substantiated nor expounded upon. As Iago creates his traps, it becomes clearer to the reader that he is a man intent on destroying Othello simply because he wants to. Just like Iago, Aaron is devoid of a clear motive for why he seeks to annihilate Lavinia and her father, Titus. He fervently plots to bring the Andronicus family to a horrible end, simply because he can. It is because these villains lack a motive and appear as malevolence incarnate that the audience is truly horrified and...

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