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Titus Andronicus Gender Quotes

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

Quote #1

Marcus Andronicus, so I do ally
In thy uprightness and integrity,
And so I love and honour thee and thine,
Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,
And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament (1.1.2)

When Bassianus refers to Lavinia as Rome's "rich ornament," it's pretty clear that Lavinia is valued for her grace and beauty rather than her brains or character. Her father and brothers, on the other hand, are valued for their "noble" military contributions to Rome.

Quote #2

Now, madam, are you prisoner to
an emperor;
To him that, for your honour and your state,
Will use you nobly and your followers. (1.1.13)

When Titus hands over his war prisoner Tamora to the new emperor, we can't help but notice that he has also just handed over his own daughter (Lavinia) to Saturninus in much the same way. Even though Lavinia is to be Saturninus's wife and Tamora is to be Saturninus's war prisoner (for now anyway), both women are treated like property to be traded and exchanged between powerful men. This becomes even more clear when Bassianus stakes his claim on Lavinia. Keep reading...

Quote #3

Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.


How, sir! are you in earnest then, my lord?
Ay, noble Titus; and resolved withal
To do myself this reason and this right.
'Suum cuique' is our Roman justice:
This prince in justice seizeth but his own. (1.1.5)

Here we learn that Lavinia is already engaged to Bassianus, who declares that she's his as he grabs her and runs off. Notice that Lavinia is completely silent during all of this. What's worse, everyone seems more concerned about Bassianus's rights than whether Lavinia even wants to marry him.

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