Titus Andronicus

Lavinia Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The daughter of Titus, Lavinia is notably passive in the play. She is given away in marriage, then raped by Demetrius and Chiron. They cut out her tongue and cut off her hands, removing her ability to speak or communicate. For the rest of the play, she is thus a mute example of extreme suffering. As a chaste Roman maiden who is violated and dismembered, she can be seen as somewhat symbolic of a crumbling Rome (the city is traditionally personified as female), violated by the intrusion of barbarians into the royal court and by the perversion of its own virtues. As a virtuous but passive sufferer, Lavinia may be contrasted with the other main female character in the play, Tamora, who is powerful and clever, but wicked and cruel. Lavinia is eventually killed by Titus, because she has lost her honor, emphasizing how much her own father values her only as a symbol of chastity and traditional female virtue.

Lavinia Quotes in Titus Andronicus

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

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:

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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:

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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:

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

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:

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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:

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Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

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:

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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:

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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:

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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

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:

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Lavinia Character Timeline in Titus Andronicus

The timeline below shows where the character Lavinia 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
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...Titus then addresses his deceased, buried children, honoring the dead in their tomb. Titus’ daughter Lavinia enters and kneels at the tomb in mourning. Titus is happy to see his daughter... (full context)
Children Theme Icon
As a gesture of thanks to Titus, Saturninus declares that he will take Lavinia as his wife. Titus is pleased with this, and presents his remaining prisoners to Saturninus... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Bassianus tells Titus that Lavinia was already betrothed to him and takes Lavinia by the arm. Marcus and Lucius support... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Angry that Lavinia has been taken from him, Saturninus says that he no longer trusts the Andronicus family... (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 him traitorous, telling him that... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
...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 to... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...the downfall of Saturninus and Rome. Chiron and Demetrius enter, arguing over their desire for Lavinia, and prepare to draw their swords and fight. Aaron calms them and convinces them that... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...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 plot their... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Revenge Theme Icon
...he is busy with carrying out revenge. He tells her that her sons will rape Lavinia and kill Bassianus. He gives Tamora a letter to show to Saturninus. (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... (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 and have threatened to... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Demetrius and Chiron enter with a mutilated Lavinia, whose hands and tongue have been cut off. Demetrius and Chiron tease her about her... (full context)
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 who has cut off... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...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 to tell him... (full context)
Children Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Titus says that whoever has done this to Lavinia has hurt him more than if he had killed him. Lavinia weeps when Titus mentions... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...to the Goths and raise an army to challenge Saturninus. Lucius bids farewell to Rome, Lavinia, and his father, calling Titus “the woefull’st man that ever lived in Rome.” (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 the... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...again and again. Marcus thinks that Titus has gone mad. Titus takes Young Lucius and Lavinia off to read them a story to distract them from their sufferings. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Young Lucius is running away from Lavinia, who is following him and, because of her disfigurement, frightening him. Marcus and Titus tell... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Lavinia points to a copy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and opens it to the story of Philomela.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Children Theme Icon
Young Lucius delivers the weapons to Chiron and Demetrius and announces that their crime against Lavinia has been discovered, before leaving. Trumpets from off-stage announce that Tamora has given birth to... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...Tamora is the mother of his child and that Demetrius and Chiron killed Bassianus, raped Lavinia, and cut her hands and tongue off. Aaron says that he was he was behind... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...Demetrius tied up and gagged so they cannot make noise. Titus then stabs them, while Lavinia catches their blood in a basin. He tells them that he will make a paste... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
...survive her shame.” Titus says that he is following the precedent of Virginius and kills Lavinia. Saturninus is shocked, but Titus tells him that Lavinia had been raped. He encourages Saturninus... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...one body.” Lucius tells the public about how Chiron and Demetrius killed Bassianus and raped Lavinia, causing Quintus and Martius to be wrongfully executed and him to be exiled. Marcus then... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...Lucius orders for Saturninus to be brought to his family’s tomb, and for Titus and Lavinia to be buried in the Andronicus family tomb. He asks that Tamora’s body be given... (full context)