The Behavior Of Titus Andronicus In Act III, Scene ii, Lines 53-80
In this part of the play, we encounter the intense inner struggle of Titus Andronicus and the extent to which his hardship and anguish have affected his perception and behavior. The need for revenge has reached an extreme level, very close to madness, expressed by his ever-changing mood and inadequate way of reasoning. Shakespeare further develops the character of Titus, adding new features, achieving a remarkable evolution that presents us with an interesting personality and mentality.
The reactions of Titus are a consequence of this gradual formation of the character. From the very beginning Titus kills one of his sons unscrupulously (I.i.292) and even if we assert that the state stands before his family, his behavior in this case is unjustified by the hasty and thoughtless manner in which he stabs Mitius. This particular scene is indicative of the whimsical and unsteady nature of Andronicus. This notion is enhanced by the following actions in the play and we realize that his reason is easily obscured by rage and prejudice. It is logical that after the heinous act done with his daughter, he is no longer capable of accepting the loss and humiliation, and his decisions become more and more unreasonable and inconsistent. The "black Moor" manages easily to take advantage of the created situation and weakness of Titus, to cut his hand off. Having in mind the scene when he sees the messenger with the two heads of his innocent sons and his own hand (III.i.234) revenge will inevitably become the driving force in Titus' actions from now on.
The motivation of Andronicus' conduct after Marcus kills the fly is understandable because of the suffering and pain that have put revenge as a major priority in his mind. Just before this episode, Titus is still more distressed by the mentioning of the word "hands" by Marcus (III.ii.22). Titus is irritated by this remark and this is one of the reasons for his being so easily enkindled when Marcus answers his question:
"What thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?
At that I have killed, my lord--a fly." (III.ii.53-54)
Titus reacts to Marcus' answer with an outburst of fury. He has seen so many people die in front of his eyes is now deeply upset by the death of fly. This as I mentioned before has its reasons. Too many disasters have stroke him for a short term of time and Titus has fallen in a serious mental conflict. He has been strictly following the Roman set of values and virtues throughout his life even if this meant for him personal sacrifice or was against his interest. The reward for this utter obedience to the state and Rome has caused him self-destruction and incessant misfortunes on his family. For example, one of his first words when he sees the raped and maimed figure of his daughter, and consequently understands that her husband was killed, he immediately refers to the law as the...