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Titus Andronicus Revenge Quotes

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

Quote #4

Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips.
Or make some sign how I may do thee ease:
Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine?
Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
Plot some deuce of further misery,
To make us wonder'd at in time to come. (3.1.9)

Titus's first instinct as the father of a victim of violence is to seek vengeance, or "plot some deuce of further misery."

Quote #5

Alas, poor man! grief has so wrought on him,
He takes false shadows for true substances. (3.2.6)

At this point, the cycle of violence and vengeance seems to have taken a toll on Titus's sanity. In fact, just about everyone in the play thinks he's gone mad. (We can see why, especially when Titus gives his strange "don't kill that innocent fly" speech and shoots arrows into Saturninus's court.) But Titus later reveals that he's merely pretending to be insane in order to get revenge against Tamora's family. (Kind of like Hamlet, who puts on an "antic disposition" while he plots to take down his murderous uncle/stepdad, Claudius.) It turns out that madness (real or faked) is a common theme in 16th century revenge tragedies like Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, Hamlet, and Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy.

Quote #6

I say, my lord, that if I were a man,
Their mother's bed-chamber should not be safe
For these bad bondmen to the yoke of Rome.
Ay, that's my boy! thy father hath full oft
For his ungrateful country done the like. (4.1.5)

Yikes! When Young Lucius declares the means by which he would avenge his aunt's rape (by storming into Tamora's "bed-chamber" for payback), we can't help but be disturbed. Lucius is merely a child, and yet his family's involvement in a blood feud is teaching him to repeat the cycle of revenge-fuelled violence. Marcus's "atta boy" response makes him no better than Tamora, who encouraged her sons to rape Lavinia back in 2.3.5.

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