Titus Andronicus

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Marcus Andronicus Character Analysis

Marcus is Titus’ brother and a Roman tribune (an elected official). He advises Titus throughout the play and attempts to reason with him as he slides more and more into a vengeful rage. He survives the entirety of the play, assuring the Roman people along with Lucius that they will bring stability back to Rome.

Marcus Andronicus Quotes in Titus Andronicus

The Titus Andronicus quotes below are all either spoken by Marcus Andronicus or refer to Marcus Andronicus. 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 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Be candidatus, then, and put [the white robe] on /
And help to set a head on headless Rome.

Related Characters: Marcus Andronicus (speaker), Titus Andronicus
Related Symbols: The White Robe, The Body
Page Number: 1.1.185-186
Explanation and Analysis:

Alarbus has been sacrificed, and Tamora and Chiron (one of her sons) have cried out that the Romans are barbarous (note that the play will continue to ask the question of who is civilized and who is barbaric). But Demetrius, Tamora's other son, quietly tells his mother and brother to calm down and seek revenge on the Andronicus family. Titus then speaks for his dead sons and reunites with his daughter Lavinia, before Marcus enters with the White Robe, which symbolizes the citizens' choice to make Titus emperor.

This robe also symbolizes purity, morality, and political power. The whiteness of the robe contrasts with the blood that has been and will continue to be spilled during the course of the play. The choice to kill Alarbus might be framed as just by association with the White Robe, but ultimately Titus refuses the robe and the power that it carries. However, he still must select the next emperor of Rome, which is currently "headless." This characterization of Rome relates to the body politic, in which the state is analogous with the body of its ruler. Without a leader, the body is literally headless. Such a gruesome image also foreshadows the countless cases of dismemberment that occur during the play. 

Titus chooses Saturninus for emperor, since he is older than his brother Bassianus, but this choice and the drama over whom Lavinia will marry set in motion the eventual crowning of Tamora as empress of Rome and much of the chaos that will (literally) tear the Andronicus family apart.

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Suffer thy brother Marcus to inter
His noble nephew here in virtue’s nest,
That died in honor and Lavinia’s cause.
Thou art a Roman; be not barbarous.

Related Characters: Lucius (speaker), Marcus Andronicus, Lavinia
Page Number: 1.1.382-385
Explanation and Analysis:

Grateful to have been appointed emperor, Saturninus offers to marry Lavinia and make her empress. Titus, who has chosen Saturninus, is pleased and accepts the offer, creating a problem since Bassianus and Lavinia are already betrothed. Marcus and Lucius support Bassianus's claim to Lavina, but Titus becomes enraged and calls them traitors. Lucius and Marcus and some more of Titus's children help Lavina to escape with Bassianus, and when Titus tries to follow, Mutius (another son) will not let his father pass. Furious, Titus kills Mutius. He values his children's lives, but not as much as he values Rome and his duty as a Roman.

In these lines, Lucius and Marcus have returned and seek to bury Mutius in the family tomb. Titus refuses at first, saying that Mutius was no son of his. Here Lucius appeals to Titus's sense of honor and civility. Lucius pleads with his father to allow Marcus to bury Mutius with the family in "virtue's nest," since Mutius "died in honor" trying to protect his sister. The final line in the quote is particularly convincing and powerful: he reminds his father, you are a Roman, don't be a barbarian. Even though he has just murdered his son, Titus values his Roman-ness above all else, and, like everyone in the play, he seeks to believe that he is civilized and that everyone else is the barbarian. Ultimately, he concedes and allows Mutius his place in the family tomb.

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

And swear with me—as, with the woeful fere
And father of that chaste dishonored dame,
Lord Junius Brutus swore for Lucrece’ rape—
That we will prosecute by good advice
Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
And see their blood or die with this reproach.

Related Characters: Marcus Andronicus (speaker), Titus Andronicus, Tamora, Demetrius and Chiron, Lavinia
Page Number: 4.1.90-95
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Lavinia is brilliantly able to communicate the extent of her attack and the names of her attackers. She points to a book, in particular Ovid's Metamorphosis, a huge source text for Shakespeare. In the book, she points to the story of Philomela, who was raped in the woods. Philomela's attacker cut out her tongue, but did not take Chiron and Demetrius's extra step of cutting off the victims hands.

Upon learning this information, Titus takes a staff and, with his mouth, uses it to write in the dirt. He instructs Lavinia to do the same, allowing her to indicate that Chiron and Demetrius are the rapists. At this revelation the Andronicus family is furious. In the quote, they all swear to pursue "Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths." They will spill the blood of Tamora, Aaron, Chiron, and Demetrius, or die trying. Before they spoke of revenge, but now that they know the true extent of the crimes of the Goths, the Andronicus family swears to seek the revenge that they will soon achieve. Note that by this point the family does not even consider a legal, judicial means of getting "justice." Their revenge must be taken outside of the laws of Rome, which has been characterized as wild, lawless, and barbarous.

Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy.
Join with the Goths, and with revengeful war
Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,
And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine.

Related Characters: Marcus Andronicus (speaker), Titus Andronicus, Saturninus, Tamora, Demetrius and Chiron
Page Number: 4.3.31-35
Explanation and Analysis:

Titus, Marcus, Young Lucius, and Marcus's son Publius are gathered. They have all prepared arrows with inscriptions on them, which they will shoot into the sky in pleas for divine justice. This practice reveals that they believe their plight for justice and revenge to be entirely (and divinely) justified. When Publius suggests that they try to calm down and find some "careful remedy" to the situation, Marcus responds that Titus's "sorrows are past remedy." There is no hope for solace or a peaceful solution; they only seek revenge.

In the following lines, Marcus shows how far the drive for revenge has taken him and his complete disillusionment with Rome. He cries out that his kinsmen should "Join with the Goths," hoping that they can then wage "revengeful war" against all of Rome. Violence has caused an inversion of what is Roman, what is Gothic, and what is just. The drive for revenge is so great that the Andronicus family, quintessentially Roman at the start of the play, now hopes for revenge and war on Rome itself in order to gain the "justice," or revenge, that they themselves set in motion by killing Alarbus according to the Roman way at the beginning of the play.

Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

O, let me teach you how to knit again
This scattered corn into one mutual sheaf,
These broken limbs again into one body.

Related Characters: Marcus Andronicus (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 5.3.71-73
Explanation and Analysis:

Marcus speaks this line to the Roman public in the aftermath of the play's climax. After the conclusion of the family conflict, Marcus addresses the conflict in Rome itself, as all three of the men considered for the position of emperor at the start of the play are now dead.

Beginning with an analogy about knitting "scattered corn into one mutual sheaf," Marcus speaks of healing Rome and restoring it to his former glory. He then refers back to the body politic, hoping to heal "these broken limbs again into one body." This language shows how the dismemberment and bodily violence done on Titus and the leaders of Rome is reflected in the state itself. Headless, handless, torn limb from limb, Rome must be pieced together by the remaining members of the Andronicus family.

Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge
These wrongs unspeakable, past patience,
Or more than any living man could bear.
Now have you heard the truth. What say you, Romans?
Have we done aught amiss?

Related Characters: Marcus Andronicus (speaker), Titus Andronicus
Page Number: 5.3.126-131
Explanation and Analysis:

Addressing the public, Marcus has revealed the extent of Tamora's family's crimes, as well as the nature of her relationship with Aaron. Marcus then asks the public to judge for themselves the causes that Titus had to seek revenge, saying that he dealt with "wrongs unspeakable, past patience, / Or more than any living man could bear." Now that they know the truth, he asks the Romans, can they really say that the Andronicus family has done anything wrong?

This line of thinking is demonstrative of the opinion that Titus and his family have held from the start of the play: the revenge may be personal, but it is divinely justified and morally right. Titus's extreme revenge is, to Marcus, no more than justice. The public seems to agree, as Lucius is selected as emperor.

After the final loose end of revenge is tied up, with Aaron being buried chest deep so that he starves to death and Tamora's body being left for wild beasts to feed on, it appears that the cycle of revenge and violence has been broken, and that Rome will have peace. However, we should note that the conflict with the Goths is entirely unresolved, as their former queen is denied funeral rights, and the child of Aaron and Tamora is left alive, possibly to grow up and seek revenge of his own.

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Marcus Andronicus Character Timeline in Titus Andronicus

The timeline below shows where the character Marcus Andronicus 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
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
The Roman tribune (a government official appointed to protect the common people) Marcus Andronicus intervenes, telling both sons that the Roman people have instead chosen Marcus’ brother, Titus... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Marcus enters with a white robe and presents it to Titus as a token of the... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...tells Titus that Lavinia was already betrothed to him and takes Lavinia by the arm. Marcus and Lucius support Bassianus's claim to Lavinia, and Titus responds by calling them traitors. Titus... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Marcus and Titus’ sons return and Marcus chastises Titus for killing Mutius. Titus again claims that... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
...Speaking aloud, Tamora continues to lie to Titus, telling him, “This day all quarrels die.” Marcus, Lavinia, and Titus’ sons ask for Saturninus’ pardon. Saturninus publicly forgives them. Titus invites Saturninus... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Marcus, Titus, and Titus’ sons prepare for the hunt. Titus tells his sons to watch out... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
After Demetrius and Chiron leave, Marcus enters and discovers Lavinia. Marcus is horrified and asks what has happened to her and... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...says that they are better off dead, since Rome is now “a wilderness of tigers.” Marcus enters with Lavinia and Titus sees what has been done to her. Titus asks Lavinia... (full context)
Children Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...than if he had killed him. Lavinia weeps when Titus mentions Quintus and Martius and Marcus wonders whether it is because she knows that they killed her husband Bassianus or because... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
...enters and tells Titus that Saturninus will allow Titus’ sons to be ransomed if Titus, Marcus, or Lucius will cut off one of their hands. Titus is eager to do it,... (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 advises Titus, “let reason govern thy lament,” but Titus replies that since the cruelties done... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Overwhelmed by pain, Titus begins to laugh. Marcus asks why he laughs, and Titus responds that he has no more tears to shed... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Children Theme Icon
Titus, Marcus, Lavinia, and Young Lucius (Titus’ grandson, the son of Lucius) are eating dinner. Titus laments... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Marcus kills a fly, which upsets Titus, who thinks of the pain it would cause the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...running away from Lavinia, who is following him and, because of her disfigurement, frightening him. Marcus and Titus tell him not to be afraid of Lavinia, who is attempting to communicate... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
...writes “stuprum,” which is the Latin word for rape, and the names Chiron and Demetrius. Marcus, Titus, and Young Lucius swear to exact revenge on Tamora’s sons. Titus tells Young Lucius... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Titus, Marcus, Young Lucius, and Marcus’ son Publius are gathered with arrows that have inscriptions on them... (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... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
After all this chaos, Lucius and Marcus address the Roman people. Marcus says that he will help them restore Rome to its... (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... (full context)