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MonkeyNotes-Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
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Scene II

Summary

Titus is overwrought with grief and cannot stop lamenting over his grief’. Marcus and young Lucius (Lucius’ son) fear he is upsetting Lavinia and try to persuade him to talk of cheerful things, but in vain. As they are eating, Marcus kills a fly and Titus accuses him of cruelty. Marcus explains that it was black fly. Titus reminded of Aaron by the mention of "black" congratulates him and takes a knife and attacks it thinking it is Aaron and Tamora. Titus, Lavinia and young Lucius retire to read old stories.


Notes

This scene is well known as one of the best-written scenes in the play. It develops Titus insanity. He is hysterically angry when Marcus kills a fly and rambles on about "if that fly had a father and mother?" And then the "poor harmless fly" reminded him of the Moor, Aaron and his mood shifts violently to exultant joy at Marcus’ deed and he congratulates Marcus for it. He takes a knife and starts attacking the fly, fancying that he is inflicting harm of his enemies: Tamora and Aaron. The obsessive mind is superbly revealed here and this scene offers a direct psychological observation on the workings of an unhinged mind.

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