Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The tragic hero of the play, Titus is a Roman general who returns to Rome from war with the Goths at the beginning of the play. Because of his many heroic deeds at war, the Roman people want him to be emperor, but he does not take the throne. He is very loyal to Rome and the emperor Saturninus, even when it means killing his own son, Mutius. He has Tamora’s son Alarbus killed as revenge for the deaths of some of his sons in battle, thus beginning the cycle of revenge and violence that dominates the play and leaves nearly all its characters dead.

Titus Andronicus Quotes in Titus Andronicus

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

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:

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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:

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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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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:

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

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

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:

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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:

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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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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:
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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:

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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 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:

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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:

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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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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:

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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:

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Titus Andronicus Character Timeline in Titus Andronicus

The timeline below shows where the character Titus 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
...Marcus Andronicus intervenes, telling both sons that the Roman people have instead chosen Marcus’ brother, Titus Andronicus, as emperor, because of his heroic deeds as a general. Marcus announces that Titus... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
A military captain heralds the arrival of Titus, who enters and salutes Rome, then orders for his deceased sons to be buried in... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...Demetrius, though, calms them both and advises Tamora to seek an opportunity for revenge upon Titus. Titus’s sons re-enter with bloody swords, announcing the death of Alarbus. Titus then addresses his... (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 citizens’ election of him as emperor. Titus declines (he says... (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,... (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... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...be his wife and the “Emperess of Rome.” Tamora accepts the offer and everyone but Titus leaves. (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 Mutius was... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...seizure or abduction.) Bassianus maintains that Lavinia was rightfully his, and pleads on behalf of Titus, telling Saturninus that Titus killed his own son out of respect for him. (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Tamora convinces Saturninus not to seek revenge, but rather to forgive Titus. However, she secretly whispers to Saturninus that this mercy is only a public ruse. She... (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 for... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Aaron enters, leading two of Titus’ sons (Martius and Quintus) and telling them that he has seen a panther trapped in... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...form of gold hidden under a nearby tree. Aaron unearths the gold. Saturninus believes that Titus’ sons are behind the plot, and since they are down in the pit with the... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...to her, so that he could seek revenge. Finally, he takes her to go see Titus and laments to her, “O, could our mourning ease thy misery!” (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
As a group of judges and tribunes lead Quintus and Martius off to be executed, Titus begs for their pity. He falls to the ground, still talking to the tribunes, who... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
Lucius tells Titus that he is going to rescue Quintus and Martius, but Titus says that they are... (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... (full context)
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Aaron enters and tells Titus that Saturninus will allow Titus’ sons to be ransomed if Titus, Marcus, or Lucius will... (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... (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... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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Titus, Marcus, Lavinia, and Young Lucius (Titus’ grandson, the son of Lucius) are eating dinner. Titus... (full context)
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Marcus kills a fly, which upsets Titus, who thinks of the pain it would cause the fly’s parents. Marcus responds that the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...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 with gestures.... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
...points to a copy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and opens it to the story of Philomela. Titus realizes that Lavinia is saying she was raped, like Philomela, in the woods. Titus takes... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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Titus, Marcus, Young Lucius, and Marcus’ son Publius are gathered with arrows that have inscriptions on... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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...annoyed by the arrows shot by the Andronicus family into the royal court. He thinks Titus has been driven mad by his suffering and is angry that he is spreading the... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...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 listen to them, but Tamora... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
...commit more crimes. The messenger Aemilius arrives and announces that Saturninus wants to meet with Titus and Lucius at Titus’ house. Lucius agrees to the meeting. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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Tamora and her sons wait outside of Titus’ house in disguise. Tamora has dressed up as the personified deity Revenge. They knock on... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Tamora thinks that she has tricked Titus and that Titus has lost his mind. She plots to go among the Goths while... (full context)
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Tamora prepares to leave with her sons to go prepare for the banquet, but Titus insists that “Rape” and “Murder” stay with him. Tamora agrees and leaves. Titus immediately has... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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Lucius, Marcus, and some Goths arrive at Titus’ home for the banquet, bringing Aaron and his child with them as prisoners. Lucius has... (full context)
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Titus then reveals to Saturninus that Demetrius and Chiron raped Lavinia and mutilated her. Saturninus asks... (full context)
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...first must “shed obsequious tears” for his dead father. Marcus, Lucius, and Young Lucius mourn Titus. (full context)
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Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
...to death. 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... (full context)