Study Guide

Titus Andronicus Act 5, Scene 3

By William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 3

Read the full text of Titus Andronicus Act 5 Scene 3 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • At Titus's house, everyone has gathered for the much-anticipated dinner banquet.
  • Lucius, who knows Saturninus's promise of a peace treaty is probably a setup, tells his men to tie Aaron up and starve him until Tamora can be confronted.
  • Saturninus shows up. He and Lucius proceed to insult each other until Marcus steps in and tries to make peace.
  • Titus enters in a chef's get-up and places the tasty entrees on the banquet table.
  • Over dinner, Titus chit-chats with his guests, asking them what they think about the story of Virginius. (FYI – Virginius, a Roman centurion, killed his daughter in order to prevent her rape. But in the play, the characters seem to think that Virginius killed his daughter after she was raped.)
  • Saturninus says Virginius was right to kill his daughter because the girl wouldn't "survive her shame" (whatever that means). Plus, he says, if she lived, she would be a burden on her father, who would feel bad every time he looked at her. (We wouldn't want that, now would we?)
  • Titus says he couldn't agree more, then shocks everyone by killing Lavinia.
  • Tamora is all, "what'd you do that for?" Titus says it's Demetrius's and Chiron's fault because they raped her and then cut out her tongue.
  • Saturninus demands that Chiron and Demetrius be brought forward – they have some serious explaining to do.
  • Titus says "Why, there they are, both baked in this pie, / Whereof their mother daintily hath fed, / Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred."
  • (Check out how Julie Taymor adapts this scene in her film Titus. A word of caution – the clip contains graphic violence.)
  • Titus leaps up and stabs Tamora.
  • Saturninus leaps up and stabs Titus.
  • Lucius doesn't want to be left out, so he leaps up and stabs Saturninus.
  • With all the dead bodies littering the stage, Marcus makes a big speech about how Rome is an absolute mess and needs to be restored. First, though, Lucius should tell everyone about what Tamora and Aaron have been up to.
  • Lucius obliges, and Marcus holds up Aaron and Tamora's love child as proof that they are bad people and that the Andronici have been completely justified in their recent actions.
  • Everyone begins to shout that Lucius is awesome and should be Rome's new emperor.
  • Lucius promises to "heal Rome's harms," starting with Aaron's punishment, which involves being buried alive and left to starve. (Oh, of course. Let the "healing" begin!)
  • Lucius announces that Titus and Lavinia will be placed in the family tomb. Tamora, on the other hand, doesn't get a burial. Instead, her body will be left for the animals to devour.
  • The End.