Titus Andronicus


William Shakespeare

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Grief and Mourning Theme Analysis

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Themes and Colors
Revenge Theme Icon
Violence and Justice Theme Icon
Children Theme Icon
Rome, Romans, and Barbarians Theme Icon
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Titus Andronicus, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Grief and Mourning Theme Icon

If one consequence of the numerous deaths and violent acts of the play is revenge, the other is mourning. As characters experience ever-increasing pains over the course of the play, they are plunged deeper and deeper into grief—especially Titus. The repeated scenes of grieving beg the question of whether such lamentation is actually worth anything or is simply useless. In Act 3, Scene 1, Lucius tells Titus that he “lament[s] in vain,” but Titus says that he “tell[s] [his] sorrows to the stones” and that there is some consolation in this. Marcus advises Titus to “let reason govern thy lament,” but Titus insists on an outpouring of grief. Later in the same scene, though, Titus begins to laugh, saying “I have not another tear to shed.” He is, in a sense, pushed beyond the limits of grief and can then only turn to cold-hearted revenge.

The play also brings up the question of how much grief is fitting or appropriate for someone to display. Titus is plunged into extreme outbursts of grief, whereas Marcus and Young Lucius (Lucius’ son) practice restrained mourning for the death of Titus and pay their respects to the dead within reason, taking care to have Lavinia and Titus buried in the Andronicus family tomb. As a way of responding to suffering, mourning may not change anything, but, within reasonable limits, it may help people cope and move on, as Marcus, Lucius, and Young Lucius hope to do at the play’s close. And as a response to tragedy, it at least seems preferable to revenge.

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Grief and Mourning ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Grief and Mourning appears in each scene of Titus Andronicus. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Grief and Mourning Quotes in Titus Andronicus

Below you will find the important quotes in Titus Andronicus related to the theme of Grief and Mourning.
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:
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:

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:

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:

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 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:
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: