Titus Andronicus

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Tamora is the queen of the Goths and is brought to Rome as a prisoner by Titus. She begs him not to kill her son Alarbus, but when he does she vows revenge against him. When Saturninus takes her as his wife, she gains the opportunity to plot revenge, and helps Aaron, Demetrius, and Chiron as they avenge Alarbus through the rape and mutilation of Lavinia, the deaths of Quintus and Martius, and the exile of Lucius.

Tamora Quotes in Titus Andronicus

The Titus Andronicus quotes below are all either spoken by Tamora or refer to Tamora. 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

Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother’s tears in passion for her son.
And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
O think my son to be as dear to me.

Related Characters: Tamora (speaker), Titus Andronicus
Page Number: 1.1.105-108
Explanation and Analysis:

While Saturninus and Bassianus's argue over who should be the next emperor of Rome, Marcus Andronicus says that the people have chosen his cousin, Titus, for the heroic deeds Titus has done as a general. Marcus announces that Titus and his train are approaching, and that Titus has lost 21 out of 25 of his sons in the recent battle against the Gauls. Titus then enters with the bodies of his deceased sons and with five living "barbarian" prisoners: Tamora, her three children, and Aaron the Moor. After Titus buries his dead sons in the family tomb, his living son Lucius requests that one of Tamora's sons be killed for sacrifice retribution; Titus consents to the killing, offering up Tamora's eldest son, Alarbus.

Here, Tamora pleads with "Victorious Titus" for the life of her son. Note that in his first line of the play, Titus called Rome "victorious." Tamora is appealing to Titus's sense of pride and victory, and she is immediately adopting Roman rhetoric and speech patterns. She proceeds to appeal to Titus's fatherhood and sense of empathy, crying "tears in passion for her son." She tries to use Titus's own sons to be persuasive, saying that if his sons are dear to him, he'll understand exactly how dear her own sons are. We can also note the added rhyme of thee and me for emphasis. But this line of reasoning is futile; though Titus has lost 21 of his children in the war, he will kill another one in anger within this very scene.

Alarbus is still sacrificed, despite Tamora's pleas. This revenge slaying begins a cycle of vengeance that will continue throughout the play, each family attempting to get revenge for the latest death.

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I’ll find a day to massacre them all
And raze their faction and their family,
The cruel father and his traitorous sons.

Related Characters: Tamora (speaker), Titus Andronicus, Lavinia, Lucius, Quintus and Martius
Page Number: 1.1.458-461
Explanation and Analysis:

After Saturninus's claim of "rape" earlier, Titus and Bassianus make their cases. Tamora outwardly encourages Saturninus to forgive them, saying that Titus is only acting out because of his grief. These lines come as an aside spoken only to Saturninus during Tamora's speech. She tells him to be patient and appear forgiving, since he is so newly in power; Tamora doesn't want the people to dethrone him in the event that they pity Titus. Instead, she says: leave it to me to get revenge. She claims she'll "find a day to massacre them all / And raze their faction and their family." The seeds of revenge are planted. Already Tamora is planning to eliminate Titus and his entire family as revenge for his murder of her son.

Note also that raze is a loose pun on race, which will come into play when Aaron's character develops. Aaron, a Moor and a driving factor behind much of Tamora's revenge, does not speak during the first act, but is given the second most lines in the play.

Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,
A Roman now adopted happily.

Related Characters: Tamora (speaker), Titus Andronicus
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 1.1.472-473
Explanation and Analysis:

Tamora successfully convinces Saturninus to make a show of forgiveness while inwardly pursuing revenge. Publicly forgiven, Titus thanks the emperor and the empress. This quote is the beginning of Tamora's response to Titus. She says that she is "incorporate in Rome," meaning that she has been immediately adopted into the physical body of Rome (and suggests that her own goals now align with Rome's goals). Note that as empress, Tamora, too, can evoke the body politic, evidenced by the presence of 'corporeal' (meaning of the body) in the word incorporate. She is careful to repeat that she is "A Roman," continuing to assert her status with perfect Roman speech.

Note also that Titus has lost his moral high ground over Tamora. His rationale for murdering Alarbus was rooted in his Roman honor, which because it was used as a basis for murder established devotedness to Rome as a questionable moral standpoint. But now Tamora herself is part of Rome, and so the purity of Titus's moral stand point has been diluted. At the same time, as the audience, we know that Tamora even as she has been made Empress of Rome, and says that she is a happy Roman, is plotting vengeance on Titus – and so the very idea of Rome as being noble and honorably has been made murky by Titus's own actions, and now by Tamora's.

Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

Revenge it as you love your mother’s life,
Or be you not henceforth called my children.

Related Characters: Tamora (speaker), Bassianus, Demetrius and Chiron
Related Symbols: The Hunt, The Body
Page Number: 2.3.114-115
Explanation and Analysis:

Aaron has left Tamora alone, but not before the pair has been spotted by Bassianus and Lavinia. Bassianus and Lavina each make fun of Tamora for cuckolding Saturninus and for sleeping with a Moor (revealing their own racist views of darker-skinned people). When Chiron and Demetrius enter, Tamora delivers a long speech in which she accuses Bassianus and Lavinia of tricking her and threatening to kill her. Tamora tells her sons to avenge her, inciting them to murder Bassianus, throw him in the pit, and commit the rape that Aaron planned.

These lines are particularly violent and twisted: Tamora asks her children to transmute love for their mother into violent revenge, and threatens to disown her if they don't. Love and violence are intermingled, and the acts of murder and rape are framed as familial love. The speech is also interesting as a counterpoint to Titus's fury earlier when he disowns Mutius for stopping him from forcing Lavinia to marry Saturninus. In each case a parent's love is predicated on their children's obedience. At the same time, the cycle (like all cycles of violence) keeps amping up to higher levels, and Titus's desire to make his daughter marry the Emperor is not at the same level as Tamora's demand that they murder Bassianus and rape Lavinia.

Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,
For no name fits thy nature but thy own.

Related Characters: Lavinia (speaker), Tamora
Page Number: 2.3.119-119
Explanation and Analysis:

These lines are spoken immediately following Bassianus's death. Lavinia first calls Tamora "Semiramis," the name of an Assyrian queen, but Lavina corrects herself, saying that she instead must use "barbarous Tamora," since "no name fits thy nature but thy own." The claim is essentially that Tamora is an evil so great that only her own name can be used to describe her. Lavinia also emphasizes Tamora's status as outsider and barbarian; despite Tamora's claim to be incorporate in Rome and her perfect Roman speech, she is still characterized as barbaric because of her violent, hateful deeds. Lavina's line also speaks to the source of Tamora's evil: it is in her nature as a Goth.

Remember, boys, I poured forth tears in vain
To save your brother from the sacrifice,
but fierce Andronicus would not relent.
Therefore away with her, and use her as you will;
The worse to her, the better loved of me.

Related Characters: Tamora (speaker), Titus Andronicus, Demetrius and Chiron, Lavinia
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 2.3.163-157
Explanation and Analysis:

Enraged, Tamora initially wants to kill Lavina, but Chiron and Demetrius stop their mother so that they can rape Lavinia first. Hearing this exchange, Lavinia begs for mercy, but Tamora is merciless. In the quote, she tells her sons to remember that she "poured forth tears" to save Alarbus from sacrifice, "but fierce Andronicus would not relent." Bent on revenge, she determines that Chiron and Demetrius can do whatever they want with Lavinia.

Again, Tamora makes the sickening conversion of motherly love into violence. She says that the worse Chiron and Demetrius treat Lavinia, the better they love their mother. Thus the rape is explicitly configured as an incestuous gesture of filial obligation; Chiron and Demetrius show love to their mother through sexual violence.

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.

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Tamora Character Timeline in Titus Andronicus

The timeline below shows where the character Tamora 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
...be buried in his family’s tomb according to custom. Titus brings with him five prisoners: Tamora, the queen of the Goths; her three sons (Alarbus, Demetrius, and Chiron); and Aaron, a... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Tamora and Chiron cry out in grief and accuse the Romans of being barbarous. Demetrius, though,... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...trusts the Andronicus family and will not have Lavinia as his wife. Instead, Saturninus asks Tamora to be his wife and the “Emperess of Rome.” Tamora accepts the offer and everyone... (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... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Tamora convinces Saturninus not to seek revenge, but rather to forgive Titus. However, she secretly whispers... (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 of Saturninus and Rome. Chiron... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...watch out for Saturninus, as he has been “troubled in my sleep this night.” Saturninus, Tamora, Bassianus, Lavinia, and Tamora’s sons arrive. Everyone prepares for the hunt, while Demetrius and Chiron... (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 make love. Aaron says instead that he is busy... (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 teases Tamora,... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Chiron and Demetrius arrive and Tamora tells them that Lavinia and Bassianus have tricked her to follow them into the wilderness... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...is in the hole and Martius answers him. He tells Saturninus that Bassianus is dead. Tamora, Titus, and Lucius arrive. Tamora feigns ignorance about Bassianus’ death and gives Saturninus the letter... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...for Bassianus’ murder. But Saturninus refuses, as he is utterly convinced of the sons’ guilt. Tamora tells Titus that she will appeal to Saturninus on behalf of Titus’ sons. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Children Theme Icon
...that their crime against Lavinia has been discovered, before leaving. Trumpets from off-stage announce that Tamora has given birth to a son. A nurse enters, bearing Tamora’s son. She tells Aaron... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Saturninus, attended by Tamora, Chiron, and Demetrius, is annoyed by the arrows shot by the Andronicus family into the... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...army of Goths against Rome. Saturninus worries, since the Roman people are supportive of Lucius. Tamora suggests that they persuade Titus to make Lucius stop. Saturninus doesn’t think that Titus will... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Aaron tells Lucius that Tamora is the mother of his child and that Demetrius and Chiron killed Bassianus, raped Lavinia,... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Tamora and her sons wait outside of Titus’ house in disguise. Tamora has dressed up as... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Tamora thinks that she has tricked Titus and that Titus has lost his mind. She plots... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Tamora prepares to leave with her sons to go prepare for the banquet, but Titus insists... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
...watch over Aaron until it is time to for him to reveal Aaron's relationship with Tamora. Saturninus and Tamora arrive with their attendants and agree to a peaceful meeting with Lucius.... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
...to him, but Titus says they are already present, baked into the pies he and Tamora are eating, so that Tamora is “eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.” Titus... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...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 / These... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...for Titus and Lavinia to be buried in the Andronicus family tomb. He asks that Tamora’s body be given no funeral rites, though, but rather be left for wild beasts to... (full context)