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Titus Andronicus
Act 5, scene 1

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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 1
Flourish. Enter Lucius with an army of Goths, with
Drums and Soldiers.


LUCIUS 
 Approvèd warriors and my faithful friends,
 I have receivèd letters from great Rome
 Which signifies what hate they bear their emperor
 And how desirous of our sight they are.
5 Therefore, great lords, be as your titles witness,
 Imperious, and impatient of your wrongs,
 And wherein Rome hath done you any scathe,
 Let him make treble satisfaction.
FIRST GOTH 
 Brave slip sprung from the great Andronicus,
10 Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort,
 Whose high exploits and honorable deeds
 Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
 Be bold in us. We’ll follow where thou lead’st,
 Like stinging bees in hottest summer’s day
15 Led by their master to the flowered fields,
 And be avenged on cursèd Tamora.
GOTHS 
 And as he saith, so say we all with him.
LUCIUS 
 I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
 But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?
165

167
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

Enter a Goth, leading of Aaron with his child in his arms.

SECOND GOTH 
20 Renownèd Lucius, from our troops I strayed
 To gaze upon a ruinous monastery,
 And as I earnestly did fix mine eye
 Upon the wasted building, suddenly
 I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
25 I made unto the noise, when soon I heard
 The crying babe controlled with this discourse:
 “Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dame!
 Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
 Had nature lent thee but thy mother’s look,
30 Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor.
 But where the bull and cow are both milk white,
 They never do beget a coal-black calf.
 Peace, villain, peace!”—even thus he rates the babe—
 “For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth
35 Who, when he knows thou art the Empress’ babe,
 Will hold thee dearly for thy mother’s sake.”
 With this, my weapon drawn, I rushed upon him,
 Surprised him suddenly, and brought him hither
 To use as you think needful of the man.
LUCIUS 
40 O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
 That robbed Andronicus of his good hand;
 This is the pearl that pleased your empress’ eye;
 And here’s the base fruit of her burning lust.—
 Say, wall-eyed slave, whither wouldst thou convey
45 This growing image of thy fiendlike face?
 Why dost not speak? What, deaf? Not a word?—
 A halter, soldiers! Hang him on this tree,
 And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
AARON 
 Touch not the boy. He is of royal blood.

169
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

LUCIUS 
50 Too like the sire for ever being good.
 First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl,
 A sight to vex the father’s soul withal.
 Get me a ladder.
A ladder is brought, which Aaron is made to climb.
AARON  Lucius, save the child
55 And bear it from me to the Empress.
 If thou do this, I’ll show thee wondrous things
 That highly may advantage thee to hear.
 If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
 I’ll speak no more but “Vengeance rot you all!”
LUCIUS 
60 Say on, and if it please me which thou speak’st,
 Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourished.
AARON 
 And if it please thee? Why, assure thee, Lucius,
 ’Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
 For I must talk of murders, rapes, and massacres,
65 Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
 Complots of mischief, treason, villainies,
 Ruthful to hear, yet piteously performed.
 And this shall all be buried in my death,
 Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.
LUCIUS 
70 Tell on thy mind. I say thy child shall live.
AARON 
 Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.
LUCIUS 
 Who should I swear by? Thou believest no god.
 That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?
AARON 
 What if I do not? As indeed I do not.
75 Yet, for I know thou art religious
 And hast a thing within thee callèd conscience,
 With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies

171
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ACT 5. SC. 1

 Which I have seen thee careful to observe,
 Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know
80 An idiot holds his bauble for a god
 And keeps the oath which by that god he swears,
 To that I’ll urge him. Therefore thou shalt vow
 By that same god, what god soe’er it be
 That thou adorest and hast in reverence,
85 To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up,
 Or else I will discover naught to thee.
LUCIUS 
 Even by my god I swear to thee I will.
AARON 
 First know thou, I begot him on the Empress.
LUCIUS 
 O, most insatiate and luxurious woman!
AARON 
90 Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity
 To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
 ’Twas her two sons that murdered Bassianus.
 They cut thy sister’s tongue, and ravished her,
 And cut her hands, and trimmed her as thou sawest.
LUCIUS 
95 O detestable villain, call’st thou that trimming?
AARON 
 Why, she was washed, and cut, and trimmed; and
 ’twas
 Trim sport for them which had the doing of it.
LUCIUS 
 O, barbarous beastly villains, like thyself!
AARON 
100 Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them.
 That codding spirit had they from their mother,
 As sure a card as ever won the set;
 That bloody mind I think they learned of me,
 As true a dog as ever fought at head.
105 Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.

173
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

 I trained thy brethren to that guileful hole
 Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay.
 I wrote the letter that thy father found,
 And hid the gold within that letter mentioned,
110 Confederate with the Queen and her two sons.
 And what not done that thou hast cause to rue,
 Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?
 I played the cheater for thy father’s hand,
 And, when I had it, drew myself apart
115 And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter.
 I pried me through the crevice of a wall
 When, for his hand, he had his two sons’ heads,
 Beheld his tears, and laughed so heartily
 That both mine eyes were rainy like to his.
120 And when I told the Empress of this sport,
 She sounded almost at my pleasing tale,
 And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.
GOTH 
 What, canst thou say all this and never blush?
AARON 
 Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.
LUCIUS 
125 Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?
AARON 
 Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
 Even now I curse the day—and yet, I think,
 Few come within the compass of my curse—
 Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
130 As kill a man, or else devise his death;
 Ravish a maid or plot the way to do it;
 Accuse some innocent and forswear myself;
 Set deadly enmity between two friends;
 Make poor men’s cattle break their necks;
135 Set fire on barns and haystalks in the night,
 And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
 Oft have I digged up dead men from their graves
 And set them upright at their dear friends’ door,

175
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ACT 5. SC. 1

 Even when their sorrows almost was forgot,
140 And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
 Have with my knife carvèd in Roman letters
 “Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.”
 But I have done a thousand dreadful things
 As willingly as one would kill a fly,
145 And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
 But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
LUCIUS 
 Bring down the devil, for he must not die
 So sweet a death as hanging presently.
Aaron is brought down from the ladder.
AARON 
 If there be devils, would I were a devil,
150 To live and burn in everlasting fire,
 So I might have your company in hell
 But to torment you with my bitter tongue.
LUCIUS 
 Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.

Enter Aemilius.

GOTH 
 My lord, there is a messenger from Rome
155 Desires to be admitted to your presence.
LUCIUS Let him come near.Aemilius comes forward.
 Welcome, Aemilius. What’s the news from Rome?
AEMILIUS 
 Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,
 The Roman Emperor greets you all by me;
160 And, for he understands you are in arms,
 He craves a parley at your father’s house,
 Willing you to demand your hostages,
 And they shall be immediately delivered.
GOTH What says our general?
LUCIUS 
165 Aemilius, let the Emperor give his pledges

177
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,
 And we will come. March away.
They exit.