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Titus returns to Rome triumphant after his victory over the Goths. He is greeted by the grateful people of Rome who choose him as their new Emperor. Titus declines this position and nominates Saturninus as the Emperor of Rome. Saturninus offers to marry Lavinia, an offer which, Titus accepts. Saturninus however lusts after Tamora, the queen of Goths. Seeing this, his brother Bassianus claims Lavinia as his betrothed, and runs away with her. Marcus, Titusí brother and Lucius and Mutius who are Titusí sons aid him in this. In anger Titus kills Mutius for he sees this as an act of treachery. Saturninus sees Laviniaís elopement as a blow to his pride and directs his anger at Titus. Tamora, who hates Titus because he had permitted the sacrifice of her son, advises Saturninus who is now her husband to pretend to forgive the Andronici. She promises him that she will destroy them all, in good time. Thus a false goodwill is established among all present.
The Royal party, along with the Andronici, goes to the forest for hunting. There Aaron plots and executes a plan against Titusí family. As a result Bassianus is killed by Tomaraís sons, Lavinia is ravished and mutilated by them and Martius and Quintus are falsely accused of Bassianusí murder and imprisoned by the angry and grief-stricken emperor.
Titusí obsession with revenge grows, making him hysterical at times when he suspects even a fly as being his enemies, Tamora and Aaron. Lavinia is able to communicate what has happened to her with the help of a book of stories and she also puts down the name of her wrong -doers in sand. This knowledge causes Titus to determine a plan of revenge against Chiron and Demetrius.
Tamora gives birth to a black baby who is Aaronís son. She wants him dead because his color is a disgrace to her. But Aaron does not let anyone harm his child and kills the nurse to keep its birth a secret. He plans to kill the mid-wife as well and then substitute it with a fair baby that will pass off as Tamora and Saturninus son. He decides entrust his baby to the Goths.
Titus seeks justice from the Goths and in a fit of emotion shoots arrows loaded with messages addressed to various Roman Gods. These arrows fall down in the palace and serve to annoy Saturninus who fears public disapproval. He sentences to death the clown who passes on a message to him from Titus. When he finds out that Lucius is raising an army of Goths to attack him his fears escalate because he is well aware that the Romans would revolt against him and support Lucius. Tamora takes the situation in her hand to convince Lucius not to attack Rome. Accordingly a message is send to Lucius for a parley with the emperor in Titusí house.
Aaron and his son are captured and brought to Lucius as prisoners. In exchange for his sonís life Aaron reveals the names of all the people who have harmed the Androcini. When Lucius receives Tamoraís message he sets out for Rome.
Disguised as revenge, and accompanied by her sons who are also disguised Tamora visits Titus. She tries to talk Titus into forgiving the empress (herself) and her sons. She is convinced of his insanity and he encourages this belief by playing along with her. He agrees to what she says and she leaves to get Saturninus for the banquet. Titus then kills her sons and prepares a feast for her with their bodies.
At the banquet he kills Lavinia to end her sorrow. He tells Tamora that she has feasted on her sons and then kills her. Angered by his wifeís death Saturninus kills Titus and he is then killed by Lucius. Marcus and Lucius present the whole truth to the people of Rome and ask for their verdict. Lucius is proclaimed as emperor of Rome. He orders Aaron to be starved to death. Tamora is denied a funeral and he arranges an honorable burial for Titus and Saturninus. The play ends with him promising the people of Rome that such political instability shall never occur again.