Titus Andronicus

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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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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.

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.

Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power,
Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.

Related Characters: Saturninus (speaker), Saturninus
Page Number: 1.1.411-412
Explanation and Analysis:

After witnessing much of the family debacle described above, Saturninus decides he does not trust the Andronicus family. He decides not to marry Lavina (who has escaped with Bassanius anyway) and instead elects to wed Tamora, making the "barbarian" prisoner instantly empress of Rome. Tamora immediately accepts, and embraces her incorporation into Rome, demonstrating an easy transition into Roman speech and her newfound power.

Here Saturninus is furious with his brother and with Titus for what he sees as their "treason." He accuses them of "rape," by which he means they have forcefully taken Lavinia from him. This language foreshadows Lavinia's literal rape at the hands of Chiron and Demetrius. Saturninus seeks justice for the slights he perceives as having been perpetrated against him, and suggests he might pursue his vengeance through a legal medium, using the power he has been granted as emperor of Rome. But his new bride is quickly (and slyly) able to convince him otherwise, and he publicly forgives Titus and Bassianus in order to seek private, personal revenge against them through activities that are outside the law.

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 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.

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.

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 3, Scene 1 Quotes

O noble father, you lament in vain.
The Tribunes hear you not; no man is by,
And you recount your sorrows to a stone.

Related Characters: Lucius (speaker), Titus Andronicus
Page Number: 3.1.27-29
Explanation and Analysis:

According to Aaron's plan, Quintus and Martius have fallen into a pit and been framed for the murder of Bassianus. (Aaron forged a letter and planted gold to make it look like they paid for the murder.) As a group of judges and tribunes passes with the imprisoned Quintus and Martius in tow, Titus begs for mercy for his sons and falls to the ground in anguish. With his head down, he continues lamenting and begging for mercy, even as the judges walk off stage.

Here Lucius informs his father that he is lamenting "in vain" since the Tribunes cannot hear him; everyone else has left the stage. In a stunning image, Lucius says that Titus recounts his "sorrows to a stone." These lines convey a sense of futility: Quintus and Martius will be executed no matter what Titus says or does; unbeknownst to Titus and Lucius, Marcus will also soon enter to inform them that Lavinia has been mutilated; the cycle of revenge has enough momentum that it cannot be stopped until everyone of significance is dead. Titus himself is aware of this inevitability, and he continues lamenting and begging to the very stones on the ground, which he claims are more sympathetic than the Tribunes who will soon execute his sons.

Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?

Related Characters: Titus Andronicus (speaker), Lucius
Page Number: 3.1.54-55
Explanation and Analysis:

Lamenting the impending deaths of Martius and Quintus and frustrated by his powerlessness in the face of inevitability, Titus claims that his sons are better off dead, since "Rome is but a wilderness of tigers." Titus is disillusioned about the Rome he idealized and placed at the center of his moral compass.

In the very first scene, he murdered a son whom he considered a traitor. Now, Rome itself has become barbaric. The incorporation of Tamora into the body of Rome has rendered the city a chaotic wilderness, the antithesis of civilization (though one might argue that Titus's own killing of Alarbus suggested that Rome had no more than a veneer of civilization to begin with). His grief at this moment is already extreme, but moments later it will border on absurdity when Marcus introduces the mutilated Lavinia.

My grief was at the height before thou cam’st,
And now like nilus it disdaineth bounds.

Related Characters: Titus Andronicus (speaker), Lavinia
Page Number: 3.1.72-73
Explanation and Analysis:

Marcus dramatically enters with "Titus, prepare thy agéd eyes to weep," presenting Lavina, whose tongue and hands have been removed. As he comes to understand the extent of her dismemberment (though yet ignorant of her rape), Titus speaks this quote, saying that his grief was at its highest point before he saw Lavinia. Now, he compares it to the flooding Nile river, overflowing and in excess.

Titus's response, though, is not quite as excessive as Marcus. When Marcus discovers the bloodied Lavinia, he offers a painfully long speech in which he professes grief. The scene is made all the more painful by the fact that while Marcus speaks and speaks, Lavinia can say nothing.

Note also that Marcus introduces Lavinia here with "This was thy daughter," suggesting that her maiming, and the destruction of her beauty, has made her something other than what she was, has made her not his daughter any longer, or, even, that in a way she is already dead.

Sweet father, cease your tears, for at your grief
See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.

Related Characters: Lucius (speaker), Titus Andronicus, Lavinia
Page Number: 3.1.138-139
Explanation and Analysis:

Titus has continued to grieve, saying that the violence done to Lavinia is more painful than his own death. Here he seems to value his children above all else, contrasting the image we see when he murders Mutius in the first scene. Titus's grief appears endless, but Lucius here calms him down, telling him to stop crying, since his surplus of grief is upsetting Lavinia.

This scene is filled with tears. At this point in the play, almost all that Lavinia can do is cry, since she has been so tortured and mutilated that she cannot otherwise communicate. Titus, Marcus, and Lucius also flood the stage with tears, to the point where Marcus' handkerchief is drowned in water. The mourning will continue when Aaron tricks Titus into cutting of his own hand in another futile attempt to save the lives of Martius and Quintus. By the end of the scene, Titus only laughs, since he has no more tears to weep.

Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?
Then be my passions bottomless with them.

Related Characters: Titus Andronicus (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 3.1.221-222
Explanation and Analysis:
Titus has just cut off his own hand, as Aaron has told him that if he does so his sons Martius and Quintus will be spared. But Aaron quickly informs Titus that he has fallen for a trick: the heads of Martius and Quintus will soon be delivered. Titus experiences intense anguish, and cries out that his sorrow and passions are bottomless and unending. Marcus tries to calm Titus down and moderate his weeping with "let reason govern thy lament," but Titus will not be calmed, and when the heads of Martius and Quintus are brought on stage, even Marcus gives in to more excessive grief and stops trying to restrain Titus's sorrow. It is at this point that the maddened, dismembered Titus begins to laugh. He has wept himself dry, and will now pursue revenge instead of grief.
Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

“But”? How if that fly had a father and mother?
How would he hang his slender gilded wings
And buzz lamenting doings in the air!
Poor harmless fly,
That, with his pretty buzzing melody,
Came here to make us merry! And thou hast killed him.

Related Characters: Titus Andronicus (speaker)
Page Number: 3.2.60-66
Explanation and Analysis:

Despite his claim to have wept all of his tears, Titus begins this scene by lamenting that he and Lavinia have lost their hands. Titus says he will learn to interpret her sign language, at once pitying her and objectifying her, since she is voiceless and he must speak for her. In a sense, Lavinia is just an object for Titus's own grief.

After Marcus kills a fly, Titus offers the lines in the quote, which demonstrate some of the empathy and logic that could have prevented much of the revenge and violence of the play. Titus wonders if the fly had parents, imagining their grief at the death of their son. This type of thinking might have prevented him from killing Alarbus at the start of the play.

But Marcus points out that the fly was black, like Aaron, and Titus quickly turns his thoughts back to his revenge. The fly and Aaron are identified as barbaric outsiders, ceasing Titus's empathy and making way for more 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.

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.)

Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

My lord the Emperor, resolve me this:
Was it well done of rash Virginius
To slay his daughter with his own right hand
Because she was enforced, stained, and deflowered?

Related Characters: Titus Andronicus (speaker), Saturninus
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 5.3.35-38
Explanation and Analysis:

The Andronicus revenge plot is underway. Titus has tricked Tamora into leaving Chiron and Demetrius behind, and he has killed them and baked them into pies he is now serving to Saturninus and Tamora (who are visiting in hopes of dissuading Lucius and his Goths from attacking Rome). 

As Tamora and Saturninus unknowingly begin to eat the pies, Titus asks Saturninus for his opinion as emperor. Titus asks about a Roman legend concerning Virginius, who killed his daughter after she had been raped to preserve his family's honor. Titus uses this line of questioning to introduce to Saturninus the fact that Lavinia was raped, but the result is a shocking one.

There is a darkly humorous cast to this scene, as Titus asks Saturninus about the proper way to respond to familial "stains" even as he "stains" his guests by having them eat Tamora's children. The story further establishes the strange values of Rome, in which honor was placed above the lives of children, in which being a citizen of Roman civilization required the killing of one's daughter who was innocent of any crime other than being raped. The story also helps place Titus Andronicus into the tradition of bloodthirsty Senecan revenge tragedies (a genre named after a Roman writer named Seneca, and which was still popular among authors of Shakespeare's time). There is, further, a sense that, even as Shakespeare fits his own story into this tradition, he is gleefully showing other playwrights who's the boss through the incredible bloodthirsty madness of his plot. 

Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee,
And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die.

Related Characters: Titus Andronicus (speaker), Lavinia
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 5.3.46-47
Explanation and Analysis:

When Saturninus tells Titus that "the girl should not survive her shame / And by her presence still renew his sorrows" in reference to the legend of Virginius, Titus immediately accepts this line of reasoning as precedent and kills Lavinia. The quote here are his final lines before he strikes her down.

He says that her shame will die with her, and with that shame, his own sorrow will die. This shocking murder is the means by which Titus reveals to Saturninus that Chiron and Demetrius raped Lavinia. Her death might briefly rid Titus of shame, but he does not live long enough to exhibit any relief from sorrow; Lavinia's death pushes the revenge plot to its climax and is followed by the deaths of Tamora, Titus, and Saturninus in quick-fire succession.

Note that when Saturninus asks for the rapists to be brought before him, Titus reveals that they are baked into the pies, resulting in possibly the most twisted, gruesome revenge of the play. After all of Tamora's strange inversions and perversions of filial love into rape and violence, the play ends with the mother ingesting (we can read un-birthing) her sons in another cruel reversal.

There’s meed for meed, death for a deadly deed.

Related Characters: Lucius (speaker), Titus Andronicus, Saturninus
Related Symbols: The Body
Page Number: 5.3.67
Explanation and Analysis:

Titus reveals that Tamora "hath fed / Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred," and he stabs Tamora before she can respond to the fact that she ate the flesh of her own children, which comprises her dying thought. Part of Titus's revenge is this silencing; he didn't seek a reaction, but rather justice. Witnessing Titus slay Tamora, Saturninus curses and kills Titus. At the death of his father, Lucius says, "Can the son's eye behold his father bleed?" and kills Saturninus.

After killing Saturninus, Lucius completes his rhyimg couplet (interrupted by a death) with the line of the quote, which speaks to the cyclical patterns of revenge and violence in the play. Murder and vengeance beget more revenge; opposing families take revenge for revenge killings over and over again, without end, until one family is completely erased. The excess of blood and revenge in the play can be seen as caricatures, ridiculing the popular revenge tragedies of Shakespeare's contemporaries.

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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