Titus Andronicus


William Shakespeare

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The Body Symbol Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The Body Symbol Icon
Titus Andronicus is filled with tortured, dismembered, disfigured, and hurt bodies. In addition to Lavinia, who is raped and has her tongue and hands cut off, Titus loses one of his hands, and the body parts of Demetrius and Chiron are cut up and made into the food that Titus serves Tamora. All this bodily disfigurement can be related to a common metaphor that personifies the empire of Rome as a body. For example, when Marcus wants Titus to become emperor of Rome, he tells him to “set a head on headless Rome.” Similarly, at the end of the play, Marcus promises to restore Rome, saying that he will “knit...these broken limbs again into one body.” Thus, all of the dismembered bodies throughout the play can be seen as standing in for the larger dissolution of Rome.

The Body Quotes in Titus Andronicus

The Titus Andronicus quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Body. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:

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:
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:
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:

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:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

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:
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:

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:

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:

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:
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The Body Symbol Timeline in Titus Andronicus

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Body appears in Titus Andronicus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 5, Scene 3
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
...them restore Rome to its former greatness and will repair “these broken limbs again into one body .” Lucius tells the public about how Chiron and Demetrius killed Bassianus and raped Lavinia,... (full context)