| Quote #7
Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
Chiron suggests that he and his brother rape Lavinia on top of her husband's dead body. For some literary critics, this is the kind of grisly, over-the-top detail that makes it hard to take Titus Andronicus seriously. For others, this kind of gratuitous violence suggests that Shakespeare was attempting to make fun of the kinds of "revenge tragedies" that were popular in his day (like Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy). What do you think?
| Quote #8
Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands
This is one of the most controversial passages in the play. As Lavinia stands raped, mutilated, and bleeding, Marcus delivers a very strange and very lengthy speech that seems to turn Lavinia's brutalized body into something erotic. What the heck is this speech doing here? Why doesn't Marcus do something more productive like, say, run for help?
| Quote #9
Earlier we saw how Aaron spoke of rape in terms of hunters stalking prey. Here Titus picks up on the same metaphor when he declares that Rome is a "wilderness of tigers." The point is pretty clear: Rome has become an uncivilized place where violence and predatory behavior are the norm.