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Titus Andronicus
Act 3, scene 2

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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 2
A banquet. Enter Titus Andronicus, Marcus, Lavinia,
and the boy Young Lucius, with Servants.


TITUS 
 So, so. Now sit, and look you eat no more
 Than will preserve just so much strength in us
 As will revenge these bitter woes of ours.
 Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot.
5 Thy niece and I, poor creatures, want our hands
 And cannot passionate our tenfold grief
 With folded arms. This poor right hand of mine
 Is left to tyrannize upon my breast,
 Who, when my heart, all mad with misery,
10 Beats in this hollow prison of my flesh,
 Then thus I thump it down.—
 Thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs,
 When thy poor heart beats with outrageous beating,
 Thou canst not strike it thus to make it still.
15 Wound it with sighing, girl, kill it with groans;
 Or get some little knife between thy teeth
 And just against thy heart make thou a hole,
 That all the tears that thy poor eyes let fall
 May run into that sink and, soaking in,
20 Drown the lamenting fool in sea-salt tears.
MARCUS 
 Fie, brother, fie! Teach her not thus to lay
 Such violent hands upon her tender life.
TITUS 
 How now! Has sorrow made thee dote already?
 Why, Marcus, no man should be mad but I.
25 What violent hands can she lay on her life?
 Ah, wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands,
 To bid Aeneas tell the tale twice o’er
 How Troy was burnt and he made miserable?
 O, handle not the theme, to talk of hands,

115
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 2

30 Lest we remember still that we have none.—
 Fie, fie, how franticly I square my talk,
 As if we should forget we had no hands
 If Marcus did not name the word of hands!
 Come, let’s fall to, and, gentle girl, eat this.
35 Here is no drink!—Hark, Marcus, what she says.
 I can interpret all her martyred signs.
 She says she drinks no other drink but tears
 Brewed with her sorrow, mashed upon her cheeks.—
 Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought.
40 In thy dumb action will I be as perfect
 As begging hermits in their holy prayers.
 Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,
 Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,
 But I of these will wrest an alphabet
45 And by still practice learn to know thy meaning.
YOUNG LUCIUS, weeping 
 Good grandsire, leave these bitter deep laments.
 Make my aunt merry with some pleasing tale.
MARCUS 
 Alas, the tender boy, in passion moved,
 Doth weep to see his grandsire’s heaviness.
TITUS 
50 Peace, tender sapling. Thou art made of tears,
 And tears will quickly melt thy life away.
Marcus strikes the dish with a knife.
 What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?
MARCUS 
 At that that I have killed, my lord, a fly.
TITUS 
 Out on thee, murderer! Thou kill’st my heart.
55 Mine eyes are cloyed with view of tyranny;
 A deed of death done on the innocent
 Becomes not Titus’ brother. Get thee gone.
 I see thou art not for my company.

117
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 2

MARCUS 
 Alas, my lord, I have but killed a fly.
TITUS 
60 “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,
65 Came here to make us merry! And thou hast killed
 him.
MARCUS 
 Pardon me, sir. It was a black, ill-favored fly,
 Like to the Empress’ Moor. Therefore I killed him.
TITUS O, O, O!
70 Then pardon me for reprehending thee,
 For thou hast done a charitable deed.
 Give me thy knife. I will insult on him,
 Flattering myself as if it were the Moor
 Come hither purposely to poison me.
75 There’s for thyself, and that’s for Tamora.
 Ah, sirrah!
 Yet I think we are not brought so low
 But that between us we can kill a fly
 That comes in likeness of a coal-black Moor.
MARCUS 
80 Alas, poor man, grief has so wrought on him
 He takes false shadows for true substances.
TITUS 
 Come, take away.—Lavinia, go with me.
 I’ll to thy closet and go read with thee
 Sad stories chancèd in the times of old.—
85 Come, boy, and go with me. Thy sight is young,
 And thou shalt read when mine begin to dazzle.
They exit.