Study Guide

Titus Andronicus Act 4, Scene 4

By William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 4

Read the full text of Titus Andronicus Act 4 Scene 4 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • At the palace, Saturninus complains to Tamora, Demetrius, and Chiron about Titus shooting arrows at him. Saturninus is not amused by this stunt and believes Titus is just pretending to be a madman. The old man better watch out, because Saturninus isn't buying into his crazy act.
  • Tamora steps in and smoothes Saturninus's ruffled feathers, saying that Titus's grief and old age really have made him crazy. Then she whispers to the audience that everything is going according to her deliciously evil plan.
  • The Clown enters and offers up the basket of pigeons and Titus's letter.
  • Saturninus reads the letter and then immediately sentences the Clown to death by hanging. (We're not sure what the letter says, but it must have been pretty insulting.)
  • The Clown, who has no idea what's going, stands around waiting to be tipped for his efforts.
  • Saturninus orders his men to fetch Titus, who is totally going to pay for whatever it was that he wrote in the letter.
  • Aemilius enters and announces that Lucius has amassed an army of Goths and they're getting ready to attack.
  • Saturninus decides that this could be bad. There's a huge army coming after him, and it also seems like his people love Lucius more than him – everyone wants Lucius to be the emperor. Saturninus apparently knows this because, in his spare time, he disguises himself as a commoner and walks the streets of Rome so he can keep tabs on what everyone is saying about him.
  • Tamora tells Saturninus not to worry – she's going to pay Titus a visit and convince the crazy old guy to stop badmouthing Saturninus.