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Titus Andronicus
Act 2, scene 4

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Titus Andronicus overflows with death and violence. Twenty-one sons of the Roman general Titus Andronicus have died in battle, leaving four…

Act 1, scene 1

Saturninus and Bassianus, sons of the deceased Emperor of Rome, challenge each other for the title of emperor. Titus Andronicus,…

Act 2, scene 1

Aaron reveals that he is Tamora’s lover, and then stops a fight between her sons, Chiron and Demetrius, who both…

Act 2, scene 2

As the morning hunt gets under way, Demetrius and Chiron anticipate raping Lavinia.

Act 2, scene 3

Aaron sets a trap to destroy Bassianus and put the blame on Titus’s sons Quintus and Martius. He has Tamora…

Act 2, scene 4

The raped and mutilated Lavinia is discovered by her horrified uncle, Marcus.

Act 3, scene 1

Martius and Quintus are led off to execution. Aaron says their lives can be saved if Titus, Lucius, or Marcus…

Act 3, scene 2

In this scene, which is found in the 1623 Folio text but not in the Quarto, Titus is horrified when…

Act 4, scene 1

Lavinia finds a way to reveal to Titus the story of her rape and mutilation and the names of the…

Act 4, scene 2

Tamora gives birth to a baby whose black skin signals Aaron’s paternity. Aaron arranges for a white baby to take…

Act 4, scene 3

Titus has his friends and family shoot arrows to which are attached messages to the gods begging that Justice (as…

Act 4, scene 4

Saturninus, enraged at the messages on the arrows, reads the letter brought by the country fellow and sentences him to…

Act 5, scene 1

Aaron is captured by Lucius and his army of Goths. After Lucius swears to protect the baby, Aaron confesses to…

Act 5, scene 2

Tamora, disguised as Revenge, tells Titus she has come to his aid, and that if he will invite Lucius to…

Act 5, scene 3

At the feast, Titus serves the pie made from the bodies of Chiron and Demetrius. He then stabs Lavinia, reveals…

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Scene 4
Enter the Empress’ sons, Demetrius and Chiron,
with Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out,
and ravished.


DEMETRIUS 
 So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
 Who ’twas that cut thy tongue and ravished thee.
CHIRON 
 Write down thy mind; bewray thy meaning so,
 An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.
DEMETRIUS 
5 See how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.
CHIRON, to Lavinia 
 Go home. Call for sweet water; wash thy hands.
DEMETRIUS 
 She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;
 And so let’s leave her to her silent walks.
CHIRON 
 An ’twere my cause, I should go hang myself.
DEMETRIUS 
10 If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.
Chiron and Demetrius exit.

Enter Marcus from hunting.

MARCUS 
 Who is this? My niece, that flies away so fast?—
 Cousin, a word. Where is your husband?
 If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me.
 If I do wake, some planet strike me down
15 That I may slumber an eternal sleep.
 Speak, gentle niece. What stern ungentle hands
 Hath lopped and hewed and made thy body bare
 Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments
 Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,
20 And might not gain so great a happiness
 As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?

87
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
 Like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind,
 Doth rise and fall between thy rosèd lips,
25 Coming and going with thy honey breath.
 But sure some Tereus hath deflowered thee,
 And lest thou shouldst detect him cut thy tongue.
 Ah, now thou turn’st away thy face for shame,
 And notwithstanding all this loss of blood,
30 As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,
 Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan’s face,
 Blushing to be encountered with a cloud.
 Shall I speak for thee, shall I say ’tis so?
 O, that I knew thy heart, and knew the beast,
35 That I might rail at him to ease my mind.
 Sorrow concealèd, like an oven stopped,
 Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
 Fair Philomela, why she but lost her tongue,
 And in a tedious sampler sewed her mind;
40 But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee.
 A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,
 And he hath cut those pretty fingers off
 That could have better sewed than Philomel.
 O, had the monster seen those lily hands
45 Tremble like aspen leaves upon a lute
 And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,
 He would not then have touched them for his life.
 Or had he heard the heavenly harmony
 Which that sweet tongue hath made,
50 He would have dropped his knife and fell asleep,
 As Cerberus at the Thracian poet’s feet.
 Come, let us go and make thy father blind,
 For such a sight will blind a father’s eye.
 One hour’s storm will drown the fragrant meads;
55 What will whole months of tears thy father’s eyes?
 Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee.
 O, could our mourning ease thy misery!
They exit.