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MonkeyNotes-Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
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ACT SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

Act I, Scene I

Summary

Saturninus and Bassianus are both soliciting support for their claim to the crown of Rome. Sounding drums and trumpets, the tribunes and the senators, have gathered to announce the name of the new Emperor of Rome. The people of Rome elect Titus Andronicus to be their new emperor. Titus and his sons have just returned from a ten-year campaign against the Goths. The queen of Goths, Tamora and her sons are the prisoners of the Romans. Lucius demands that a Goth should be sacrificed in order to appease the soul of the dead sons of Titus. Alarbus, Tamora’s son is selected for the sacrifice. Tamora appeals to Titus to spare her son but Titus refuses to listen to him. Tamora’s son is therefore sacrificed by Lucius with Titus approval. Titus refuses the position of the Emperor saying that he is too old and surprises everyone when he chooses Saturninus as the emperor. Although Saturninus offers to marry Lavinia, he is openly impressed by Tomara’s beauty.


This prompts Bassianus to claim Lavinia for himself. Aided by Marcus and Titus’ sons, he runs away with her. Titus, outraged by this treachery kills his youngest son Mutius. Saturninus, angered by what he sees as an affront to his pride rejects Titus and all his relations and decides to marry Tamora. At the pleading of his kinsmen Titus reluctantly agrees to bury Mutius in the family tomb. Titus pleads Saturninus for forgiveness and the latter, tutored by Tamora, pretends to forgive all involved and establishes false friendship with Titus. Tamora promises Saturninus that she will destroy Titus along with his entire family. Titus gives an invitation to Saturninus and his wedding party to join them for hunting the next day. Saturninus accepts the invitation.

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