Titus Andronicus portrays a horrific view of sexuality that suggests there's an inherent ugliness in desire. Demetrius and Chiron view the act of rape as a speedier, more convenient alternative to courtship, and most character see Tamora's adulterous affair with Aaron as an activity that "stains" Tamora's "honour" black like Aaron's skin color (2.3.2). What's more, at the center of the play is a pit, a "bloodstained hole" (2.3.3) and "swallowing womb" (2.3.6) that is an obvious and disturbing metaphor for Lavinia's raped and brutalized body.
Questions About Sex
- Explain why Saturninus chooses Tamora as his empress.
- How do characters react when they find out about Tamora's affair with Aaron?
- Why does Tamora want Aaron to kill her newborn son?
Chew on This
The play goes out of its way to suggest that Lavinia remains virtuous after she is attacked by Demetrius and Chiron.