Titus Andronicus

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Aaron the Moor Character Analysis

Aaron is Tamora’s secret lover and fathers a child with her. Of African descent, he takes abuse from both the Andronicus family and from Demetrius and Chiron for his dark skin. While the distinction between barbarous Goths and civilized Romans tends to blur over the course of the play, Aaron is still separated from other characters because of his skin color. Aaron is a cunning villain, behind much of the violence of the play: he arranges for Quintus and Martius to be framed for Saturninus’ murder, and also encourages Demetrius and Chiron to both rape Lavinia. He feels no regret for his deeds when captured by Lucius, and says that he only wishes he could live to commit more crimes.

Aaron the Moor Quotes in Titus Andronicus

The Titus Andronicus quotes below are all either spoken by Aaron the Moor or refer to Aaron the Moor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Revenge Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Titus Andronicus published in 2005.
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

There serve your lust, shadowed from heaven’s eye,
And revel in Lavinia’s treasury.

Related Characters: Aaron the Moor (speaker), Demetrius and Chiron, Lavinia
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 2.1.138-139
Explanation and Analysis:

Aaron begins this scene with a soliloquy in which he reveals that Tamora and he are lovers, and that the pair is plotting the downfall of Saturninus and of Rome. He relishes in his villainy. As he is soliloquizing, Chiron and Demetrius enter arguing over their desire for Lavinia. They draw their swords, preparing to duel for her, but Aaron intervenes and instigates one of the worst crimes in the play.

In the quote, he suggest that rather than fight over Lavinia, who is already engaged, they should together "serve their lust" in secret, and "revel in Lavinia's treasury." In other words, he encourages them to rape her. The violent rape which they soon commit is the source of a tremendous amount of grief, mourning, and tears, and it instigates further retribution by the Andronicus family.

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.

Related Characters: Aaron the Moor (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Hunt
Page Number: 2.38-39
Explanation and Analysis:

This scene takes place during The Hunt, in which the Andronicus family goes hunting with Bassianus and Saturninus. But here, the hunters become the hunted, and are preyed on by Tamora, Aaron, and Chiron and Demetrius. Aaron begins the scene by entering alone and burying a bag of gold that will be used as a prop in his plan. Soon Tamora arrives and asks why Aaron looks so sad, making a sexual advance.

But Aaron denies Tamora, saying that his melancholy does not symbolize sexual desire. Instead, he delivers the quote shown here, saying that he is overtaken by a desire for revenge. He is captivated by his plot for revenge, and his usual desires are replaced by bloodthirst. His reference to his "hand" and "head" subtly foreshadow the eventual dismemberment and discombobulation that will plague the Andronicus family. His language here illustrates how obsessed he has become by revenge, and his refusal of Tamora shows Aaron as the central villain, conceiving of and driving the violent plans.

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

But I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.

Related Characters: Aaron the Moor (speaker)
Page Number: 5.1.143-146
Explanation and Analysis:

This scene begins with Lucius preparing an army of Goths to attack Rome, following through on Marcus's cry to "join with the Goths" above. Meanwhile, Lucius has captured Aaron as well as Aaron and Tamora's child; Lucius wants to kill the child and then Aaron, but Aaron asks Lucius to spare the baby in exchange for information. Aaron then explains that the baby is Tamora's, that Chiron and Demetrius killed Bassianus and raped Lavinia, and that he, Aaron, was responsible for all of the murders and the revenge plot. 

Aaron speaks the lines in this quote when Lucius asks if he feels regret for all of the horrible things he has just outlined. Aaron's response is that he has "done a thousand dreadful things" as easily as if he was killing a fly. His only regret is that he cannot do "ten thousand more" evil deeds. Thus we see how purely evil Aaron's character is. He is motiveless, and relishes in his evil; it is pure delight rather than personal interest that propels his villainy.

(It is worth thinking about the fact that Aaron is the only Moorish, or black, character in the play, and that he is also the only character who performs evil for evil's sake. While the play never clearly makes this connection, some critics argue that Aaron is in fact not without motive at all, and that he acts out of a desire to destroy all of the Romans and Goths as a reaction to societal racism; other critics argue that the play itself is racist because it makes a black man purely evil in a way none of the other characters are.)

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Aaron the Moor Character Timeline in Titus Andronicus

The timeline below shows where the character Aaron the Moor appears in Titus Andronicus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...prisoners: Tamora, the queen of the Goths; her three sons (Alarbus, Demetrius, and Chiron); and Aaron, a Moor (someone of African descent). Titus’ son Lucius suggests that one of Tamora’s sons... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Saturninus enters with Tamora, her sons, and Aaron, while Bassianus enters with Lavinia. Saturninus tells Bassianus that he can have Lavinia and calls... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
In a soliloquy, Aaron reveals that he and Tamora are lovers and says that Tamora will cause the downfall... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Revenge Theme Icon
Alone during the hunt, Aaron buries a bag of gold under a tree. Tamora arrives and suggests she and Aaron... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Bassianus and Lavinia come upon Aaron and Tamora, discovering that the two are lovers. Aaron leaves to find Tamora’s sons. Bassianus... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Aaron enters, leading two of Titus’ sons (Martius and Quintus) and telling them that he has... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...Bassianus in return for payment in the form of gold hidden under a nearby tree. Aaron unearths the gold. Saturninus believes that Titus’ sons are behind the plot, and since they... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Aaron enters and tells Titus that Saturninus will allow Titus’ sons to be ransomed if Titus,... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Aaron leaves and Titus cries out in pain, saying that his passionate grief is “bottomless.” Marcus... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Revenge Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...pain it would cause the fly’s parents. Marcus responds that the fly was black, like Aaron. Titus cries out gleefully and tells Marcus he was right to kill the fly. He... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Children Theme Icon
...Tamora has given birth to a son. A nurse enters, bearing Tamora’s son. She tells Aaron that the child is dark-skinned, and will thus reveal that Tamora and Aaron are lovers.... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Lucius prepares his army of Goths to attack Rome. A Goth enters with Aaron and Aaron’s child, having found them in hiding. Lucius decides to hang the child in... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Aaron tells Lucius that Tamora is the mother of his child and that Demetrius and Chiron... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Lucius, Marcus, and some Goths arrive at Titus’ home for the banquet, bringing Aaron and his child with them as prisoners. Lucius has Marcus watch over Aaron until it... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...Quintus and Martius to be wrongfully executed and him to be exiled. Marcus then reveals Aaron and Tamora’s child, tells the Roman people, “Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Aemilius acclaims Lucius as emperor, since the Roman people support him. Marcus orders for Aaron to be brought out, while the Roman people hail Lucius as their new emperor. Lucius... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Guards bring out Aaron and Lucius orders for him to be buried chest-deep in the earth, where he will... (full context)