Language and writing are a big deal in Titus Andronicus, especially where women's voices are concerned. When Lavinia's tongue and hands are cut off after a brutal sexual assault, she is completely powerless and unable to name her attackers. Once she finds a way to use a classic literary text (Ovid's Metamorphoses) to communicate, literature rescues her from a life of silence and enables a kind of rebirth. (For more on this topic, check out "Character Clues: Speech and Dialogue.")
Questions About Language and Communication
- Why do Demetrius and Chiron cut out Lavinia's tongue?
- Why does Marcus make a big speech when he finds Lavinia wandering around in the woods?
- What is the significance of the way in which Lavinia reveals her attackers?
- What is the significance of Young Lucius's storybooks in Titus Andronicus? What role do they play?
Chew on This
Reading and writing are the key to recovery in Titus Andronicus.
Lavinia was silenced long before Demetrius and Chiron cut out her tongue.