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Titus Andronicus Family Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.

Quote #1

Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,
If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son,
Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
Keep then this passage to the Capitol
And suffer not dishonour to approach
The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
To justice, continence and nobility;
But let desert in pure election shine,
And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice. (1.1.1)

As Bassianus and Saturninus vie for the Roman empery, their sibling rivalry is played out on a political stage. The nasty domestic dispute that opens the play anticipates the civil strife that will nearly destroy Rome.

Quote #2

Noble patricians, patrons of my right,
Defend the justice of my cause with arms,
And, countrymen, my loving followers,
Plead my successive title with your swords:
I am his first-born son, that was the last
That wore the imperial diadem of Rome;
Then let my father's honours live in me,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity. (1.1.1)

Like a lot of Shakespeare's plays, Titus Andronicus is interested in primogeniture (the system by which eldest son inherits all his father's titles, wealth, and land). Here Saturninus argues that he should lead Rome because he's the oldest son of the late Roman emperor and he's willing to go to war with his younger brother for the right to do so. Yet Saturninus's argument doesn't quite hold up, because Rome's new emperor is supposed to be chosen by election.

Quote #3

Stay, Roman brethren! Gracious conqueror,
Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother's tears in passion for her son:
And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
O, think my son to be as dear to me! (1.1.1)

As Tamora begs for her eldest son's life (which is about to be sacrificed to appease the spirits of Titus's slain sons), she appeals to Titus as one parent to another. This, as we know, is not such a good plan, because Titus isn't exactly winning any "father of the year" awards. Keep reading ...

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