Monday, March 28, 2011

Titus Andronicus Act 5, Scene 3


not feeling goooood. insomnia and too much homework = no good. not feeling good + having to pull an all-nighter? extra no good. so pardon me if i'm a little delirious.

act 5, scene 3 is INSANE. here goes:
Lucius, Marcus, Aaron, and the Goths enter, as do Saturninus, Tamora, and the Romans. Marcus announces that the feast is ready and tables are set up. Titus and Lavinia enter, Titus serves them the pies, and they dig in. Titus kills Lavinia to save her from her shame and everyone freaks out. Titus explains what happened to her and that it was Chiron and Demetrius that did it. when Saturninus asks to see them, Titus reveals that they are there in the pies. he kills Tamora. Saturninus kills Titus. Lucius kills Saturninus. everyone FREAKS OUT. Lucius basically rehashes everything that has happened in the play. they make Lucius emperor! he and Marcus kiss Titus and tell young Lucius to remember their loving grandfather. (see quote below.) Aaron comes in and Lucius sentences him to being buried chest-deep to starve to death. Aaron, of course, shows no remorse. he also tells them to leave Tamora's body out where the birds and animals can eat her. they all leave to bury Titus, Lavinia, and Saturninus. the end!

so... what happens to Aaron's kid? unclear.and i'm confused about the Goths. do they like... run off or something? or is there some sort of peace between Rome and the Goths or something? i love that Titus had been fighting them forever, then he captures Tamora from them, then his son ends up raising an army of them to fight for Titus. how the heck?

ummmm... Titus kills Lavinia? WHAT?!?!? who else didn't see that one coming? i was shocked! crazy!

i am disappointed that Tamora and Saturninus die before we get to see them react to the news that they just ate Chiron and Demetrius. i was so stoked for that moment, but it didn't happen. sad.

i also just realized how tragic a character Saturninus is. i feel like he's trying to do the right thing all they time, he just has too much misinformation. he kills Titus because Titus kills Tamora. he thinks he has a legit marriage. he doesn't know she's a fraud. so he kills for her, and in turn is killed. so sad.

also, i thought Lucius' little speech to young Lucius was sweet, but a little hard to believe. he says that Titus always did these sweet things for young Lucius, but... how? before this time hasn't he been in battle for years? he hasn't been home THAT long, has he? or has he? passage of time in Shakespeare eludes me.

final death toll: 14! YOWZA.

quote of the day:
'come hither, boy. come, come, and learn of us
to melt in showers. thy gransire loved thee well.
many a time he danced thee on his knee,
sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;
many a story hath he told to thee,
and bid thee bear his pretty tales in mind
and talk of them when he was dead and gone.'
   -Lucius; act 5, scene 3

6 plays, 4 poems, 6 sonnets down. 32 plays, 1 poem, and 148 sonnets to go. whew! i have a lot of Shakespeare to read this summer!

for tomorrow: sonnets 7-12.

-rebecca may


  1. I would love a sequel about Aaron and Tamora's son. (Just like I'm waiting for a KILL BILL sequel in which Vernita Green's little girl is grown, comes after Beatrix, and Bebe has to fight her.) Maybe we should write one.

    Once again, the actors' reaction might give greater satisfaction than reading the text without dialogue for the repulsion of realizing they just ate their sons/stepsons. Nevertheless, I do think Shakespeare greatly improved his ability to allow the audience to absorb and savor the major explosion of climactic violence by the time he wrote HAMLET.

    Very astute of you to question the extent of Titus' involvement with his grandson. How long were he, Lucius and young Lucius all together? Like you, I thought Titus had just come home after many years in the military. And Lucius got banished too soon to witness all of that bonding his describes.

  2. The part of the scene where Titus kills Lavinia has always been shocking to me. I wrote about it a bit in my blog when I was working on a play from 1906 called The Great Divide. In that play, my character's mother tells her that she "should have died first" rather than marry a man who tried to rape her. Long story short - the shame of the event is worse than death is Titus' eyes and in his mind, you could argue, he is setting Lavinia free. Free from her shame, her guilt, her feelings of helplessness. Check out the post I referred to: