OK. I’m a baby.
Lavinia – The only daughter of Titus Andronicus, she spurns Saturninus’s offer to make her his empress because she is in love with Bassianus. She is brutally raped and disfigured by Chiron and Demetrius in the forest during the hunt. Thereafter, she is a mute and horrifying presence constantly on stage, complement to her father’s loquacious sufferings, and accomplice to his bloody vengeance. Deprived of every means of communication, and robbed of her most precious chastity, she comes across as one of Shakespeare’s most incapacitated heroines. Yet, as she is physically pared down, her narrative and thematic importance escalates, drawing our attention to the importance of pantomime on the stage. The rape of Lavinia is undoubtedly the central and most horrific crime of the play, which is why Edward Ravenscroft’s adaptation of the play has the alternate name of “The Rape of Lavinia.” For this reason, her character invites especially careful scrutiny.
Lavinia is also Lucretia, as in the Rape of Lucretia by Tarquinius. This event from the annals of “Ancient Rome” began the Tarquinian Wars that destroyed the Kingdom of Rome.
NC equates Lavinia with the Virgin Mary and for me, she is the embodiment of the Divine Female. The Holy Mother, mutilated and destroyed by the people around her.
She is the symbol of abuse that transcends time and space. Shorn of all her divine rights.
The double rape takes away her chastity, dignity and self-respect. The cutting off of both her hands destroys her ability to function normally.
The cutting out of her tongue silences her. Forever.
She is the Sacrifice of the Innocents in every way, shape and form. The lesson always repeated but never learned.
A dumb person with no hands and no dignity can’t help anyone. Least of all herself.