Page (1 of 4) Quotes: 1 2 3 4
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
| Quote #1
If Saturnine advance the queen of Goths
She will a handmaid be to his desires (1.1.3)
Look out, because Tamora is trouble with a capital T. When she promises to be a "handmaid" to the emperor's desires if he makes her his empress, we know that she will do anything to gain power.
| Quote #2
Then, Aaron, arm thy heart, and fit thy thoughts,
To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long
Hast prisoner held, fetter'd in amorous chains
And faster bound to Aaron's charming eyes
Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold,
To wait upon this new-made empress.
To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen,
This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
This siren, that will charm Rome's Saturnine,
And see his shipwreck and his commonweal's.
Holloa! what storm is this? (2.2.1)
Aaron is portrayed as having quite the libido, as evidenced here, where he brags that Tamora is his love slave. Black characters in 16th century literature were often associated with a kind of hypersexuality. Consider, for example, the way Iago suggests that Othello's sex drive is animal-like when he calls the black general an "old black ram" that goes around "tupping" a "white ewe" (his wife, Desdemona) (Othello, 1.1.9).
| Quote #3
Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine:
What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence and my cloudy melancholy,
My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
Even as an adder when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution?
No, madam, these are no venereal signs:
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head. (2.3.2)
Earlier, we pointed out that Aaron is portrayed as being hypersexual. Here, however, it's Tamora who can't get enough of her secret lover. Aaron passes up an opportunity to sleep with her because he's too busy plotting the destruction of the Andronicus family.