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



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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 4
Enter Emperor Saturninus and Empress Tamora
and her two sons Chiron and Demetrius, with
Attendants. The Emperor brings the arrows in his
hand that Titus shot at him.

 Why, lords, what wrongs are these! Was ever seen
 An emperor in Rome thus overborne,
 Troubled, confronted thus, and for the extent
 Of equal justice, used in such contempt?

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

5 My lords, you know, as know the mightful gods,
 However these disturbers of our peace
 Buzz in the people’s ears, there naught hath passed
 But even with law against the willful sons
 Of old Andronicus. And what an if
10 His sorrows have so overwhelmed his wits?
 Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks,
 His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
 And now he writes to heaven for his redress!
 See, here’s “to Jove,” and this “to Mercury,”
15 This “to Apollo,” this to the god of war.
 Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome!
 What’s this but libeling against the Senate
 And blazoning our unjustice everywhere?
 A goodly humor is it not, my lords?
20 As who would say, in Rome no justice were.
 But if I live, his feignèd ecstasies
 Shall be no shelter to these outrages,
 But he and his shall know that justice lives
 In Saturninus’ health, whom, if he sleep,
25 He’ll so awake as he in fury shall
 Cut off the proud’st conspirator that lives.
 My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine,
 Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts,
 Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus’ age,
30 Th’ effects of sorrow for his valiant sons,
 Whose loss hath pierced him deep and scarred his
 And rather comfort his distressèd plight
 Than prosecute the meanest or the best
35 For these contempts. (Aside.) Why, thus it shall
 High-witted Tamora to gloze with all.
 But, Titus, I have touched thee to the quick.
 Thy lifeblood out, if Aaron now be wise,
40 Then is all safe, the anchor in the port.

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

Enter Country Fellow.

 How now, good fellow, wouldst thou speak with us?
COUNTRY FELLOW Yea, forsooth, an your Mistresship be
 Empress I am, but yonder sits the Emperor.
COUNTRY FELLOW 45’Tis he!—God and Saint Stephen
 give you good e’en. I have brought you a letter and
 a couple of pigeons here.
Saturninus reads the letter.
 Go, take him away, and hang him presently.
COUNTRY FELLOW How much money must I have?
TAMORA 50Come, sirrah, you must be hanged.
COUNTRY FELLOW Hanged! By ’r Lady, then I have
 brought up a neck to a fair end.
He exits with Attendants.
 Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!
 Shall I endure this monstrous villainy?
55 I know from whence this same device proceeds.
 May this be borne?—as if his traitorous sons,
 That died by law for murder of our brother,
 Have by my means been butchered wrongfully!
 Go, drag the villain hither by the hair.
60 Nor age nor honor shall shape privilege.
 For this proud mock, I’ll be thy slaughterman,
 Sly, frantic wretch, that holp’st to make me great
 In hope thyself should govern Rome and me.

Enter nuntius, Aemilius.

SATURNINUS What news with thee, Aemilius?
65 Arm, my lords! Rome never had more cause.
 The Goths have gathered head, and with a power

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Of high-resolvèd men bent to the spoil,
 They hither march amain under conduct
 Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus,
70 Who threats, in course of this revenge, to do
 As much as ever Coriolanus did.
 Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths?
 These tidings nip me, and I hang the head
 As flowers with frost or grass beat down with storms.
75 Ay, now begins our sorrows to approach.
 ’Tis he the common people love so much.
 Myself hath often heard them say,
 When I have walkèd like a private man,
 That Lucius’ banishment was wrongfully,
80 And they have wished that Lucius were their emperor.
 Why should you fear? Is not your city strong?
 Ay, but the citizens favor Lucius
 And will revolt from me to succor him.
 King, be thy thoughts imperious like thy name.
85 Is the sun dimmed that gnats do fly in it?
 The eagle suffers little birds to sing
 And is not careful what they mean thereby,
 Knowing that with the shadow of his wings
 He can at pleasure stint their melody.
90 Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome.
 Then cheer thy spirit, for know, thou emperor,
 I will enchant the old Andronicus
 With words more sweet and yet more dangerous
 Than baits to fish or honey-stalks to sheep,
95 Whenas the one is wounded with the bait,
 The other rotted with delicious feed.
 But he will not entreat his son for us.

Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

 If Tamora entreat him, then he will,
 For I can smooth and fill his agèd ears
100 With golden promises, that were his heart
 Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,
 Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.
 To Aemilius. Go thou before to be our ambassador.
 Say that the Emperor requests a parley
105 Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting
 Even at his father’s house, the old Andronicus.
 Aemilius, do this message honorably,
 And if he stand in hostage for his safety,
 Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.
110 Your bidding shall I do effectually.
He exits.
 Now will I to that old Andronicus
 And temper him with all the art I have
 To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.
 And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again,
115 And bury all thy fear in my devices.
 Then go successantly, and plead to him.
They exit.