List iconTitus Andronicus:
Act 4, scene 1
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Titus Andronicus
Act 4, scene 1



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Entire Play

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 1
Enter Lucius’ son and Lavinia running after him, and
the boy flies from her with his books under his arm.
Enter Titus and Marcus.

 Help, grandsire, help! My aunt Lavinia
 Follows me everywhere, I know not why.—
 Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes!—
 Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.
5 Stand by me, Lucius. Do not fear thine aunt.
 She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.
 Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.
 What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?
 Fear her not, Lucius. Somewhat doth she mean.
10 See, Lucius, see, how much she makes of thee.
 Somewhither would she have thee go with her.
 Ah, boy, Cornelia never with more care
 Read to her sons than she hath read to thee
 Sweet poetry and Tully’s Orator.

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 1

15 Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?
 My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,
 Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her;
 For I have heard my grandsire say full oft,
 Extremity of griefs would make men mad,
20 And I have read that Hecuba of Troy
 Ran mad for sorrow. That made me to fear,
 Although, my lord, I know my noble aunt
 Loves me as dear as e’er my mother did,
 And would not but in fury fright my youth,
25 Which made me down to throw my books and fly,
 Causeless, perhaps.—But pardon me, sweet aunt.
 And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go,
 I will most willingly attend your Ladyship.
MARCUS Lucius, I will.
30 How now, Lavinia?—Marcus, what means this?
 Some book there is that she desires to see.—
 Which is it, girl, of these?—Open them, boy.—
 To Lavinia. But thou art deeper read and better
35 Come and take choice of all my library,
 And so beguile thy sorrow till the heavens
 Reveal the damned contriver of this deed.—
 Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?
 I think she means that there were more than one
40 Confederate in the fact. Ay, more there was,
 Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.
 Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?
 Grandsire, ’tis Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
 My mother gave it me.

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 1

MARCUS 45For love of her that’s gone,
 Perhaps, she culled it from among the rest.
 Soft! So busily she turns the leaves.
 Help her! What would she find?—Lavinia, shall I read?
 This is the tragic tale of Philomel,
50 And treats of Tereus’ treason and his rape.
 And rape, I fear, was root of thy annoy.
 See, brother, see! Note how she quotes the leaves.
 Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl,
 Ravished and wronged as Philomela was,
55 Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods?
 See, see! Ay, such a place there is where we did hunt—
 O, had we never, never hunted there!—
 Patterned by that the poet here describes,
 By nature made for murders and for rapes.
60 O, why should nature build so foul a den,
 Unless the gods delight in tragedies?
 Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none but friends,
 What Roman lord it was durst do the deed.
 Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,
65 That left the camp to sin in Lucrece’ bed?
 Sit down, sweet niece.—Brother, sit down by me.
They sit.
 Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury
 Inspire me, that I may this treason find.—
 My lord, look here.—Look here, Lavinia.
He writes his name with his staff and guides it
with feet and mouth.

70 This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst,
 This after me. I have writ my name

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Without the help of any hand at all.
 Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift!
 Write thou, good niece, and here display at last
75 What God will have discovered for revenge.
 Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain,
 That we may know the traitors and the truth.
She takes the staff in her mouth, and guides it
with her stumps and writes.

 O, do you read, my lord, what she hath writ?
 “Stuprum. Chiron, Demetrius.”
80 What, what! The lustful sons of Tamora
 Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?
TITUS Magni Dominator poli,
 Tam lentus audis scelera, tam lentus vides?

 O, calm thee, gentle lord, although I know
85 There is enough written upon this earth
 To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts
 And arm the minds of infants to exclaims.
 My lord, kneel down with me.—Lavinia, kneel.—
 And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector’s hope,
They all kneel.
90 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,
95 And see their blood or die with this reproach.
They rise.
 ’Tis sure enough, an you knew how.
 But if you hunt these bearwhelps, then beware;
 The dam will wake an if she wind you once.
 She’s with the lion deeply still in league,

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 1

100 And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back;
 And when he sleeps will she do what she list.
 You are a young huntsman, Marcus; let alone.
 And come, I will go get a leaf of brass,
 And with a gad of steel will write these words,
105 And lay it by. The angry northern wind
 Will blow these sands like Sibyl’s leaves abroad,
 And where’s our lesson then?—Boy, what say you?
 I say, my lord, that if I were a man,
 Their mother’s bedchamber should not be safe
110 For these base bondmen to the yoke of Rome.
 Ay, that’s my boy! Thy father hath full oft
 For his ungrateful country done the like.
 And, uncle, so will I, an if I live.
 Come, go with me into mine armory.
115 Lucius, I’ll fit thee, and withal my boy
 Shall carry from me to the Empress’ sons
 Presents that I intend to send them both.
 Come, come. Thou ’lt do my message, wilt thou not?
 Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.
120 No, boy, not so. I’ll teach thee another course.—
 Lavinia, come.—Marcus, look to my house.
 Lucius and I’ll go brave it at the court;
 Ay, marry, will we, sir, and we’ll be waited on.
All but Marcus exit.
 O heavens, can you hear a good man groan
125 And not relent, or not compassion him?
 Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
 That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 2

 Than foemen’s marks upon his battered shield,
 But yet so just that he will not revenge.
130 Revenge the heavens for old Andronicus!
He exits.