© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Devil incarnate Introduction

I'm Lucius. I'm Titus' son and pretty bloodthirsty to begin with. But by the time the play is up, I see that only leads to trouble, so I change my ways to be a bit mellower. And you know what I think?

O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
That robb'd Andronicus of his good hand;
This is the pearl that pleased your empress' eye,
And here's the base fruit of his burning lust.
Say, wall-eyed slave, whither wouldst thou convey
This growing image of thy fiend-like 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. (5.1.40-48)

Who Said It and Where

In a field near Rome, Lucius has gathered an army of Goths and Roman supporters of Titus. It turns out that the Roman people hate their current emperor. Lucius delivers a rousing speech to the Goths. Now's their chance to pay back Rome for everything she ever did to them.

What's the backstory? After ten long years of fighting a war against the "barbarous" Goths, Roman general Titus Andronicus returns home with the bodies of his two dead sons and a crew of important war prisoners, including Tamora (queen of the Goths), her sons (Demetrius and Chiron), and Aaron the Moor. Before he places his slain sons in the Andronicus family tomb, Titus sacrifices Tamora's eldest son, Alarbus, in order to appease the spirits of his dead children.

That doesn't sit too well with Tamora. To retaliate, she encourages her sons, Demetrius and Chiron, to kill Bassianus and rape Titus' daughter, Lavinia. After the rape, Demetrius and Chiron brutally cut out Lavinia's tongue and chop off her hands so she can't identify them (verbally or in writing) as her attackers. Then Tamora helps Aaron frame Titus' sons, Quintus and Martius, for the murder of Bassianus.

When Titus' son Lucius makes a heroic attempt to save his brothers from false imprisonment and certain death, he's banished from Rome. So he gathers an army of his own to fight against Tamora and Aaron for all the stuff they've done to his fam.

Back to the show. A Goth announces that they're ready to rumble. Then another Goth shows up with Aaron and his baby. Apparently this Goth warrior was off sightseeing some Roman ruins when he heard a baby crying and a man telling the kid to pipe down.

Lucius orders Aaron and his "fruit of bastardy" to be hanged in a tree. Aaron promises to reveal some juicy information if Lucius promises not to kill his child. Lucius agrees… sort of. Aaron reveals that Chiron and Demetrius raped and mutilated Lavinia and confesses that it was all his idea. He also admits that he tricked Titus into cutting off his hand and, when he told Tamora what he had done, the couple celebrated Aaron's mischief by making out. Ew.

No wonder Lucius calls him a devil.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...