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MonkeyNotes-Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 1

Summary

This act begins with young Lucius running away from his aunt Lavinia. He runs to Titus and Marcus who urge him to try and understand what his aunt is trying to say. With the help of Ovidís Metamorphosis, Lavinia reveals what had befallen her in the woods. Then using a staff she writes the names of her wrongdoers in sand. Marcus vows to take mortal revenge upon them and even young Lucius offers to kill them. Titus dissuades Marcus from this and says that he has another plan. He leaves for the court, taking Lavinia and young Titus with him and leaves Marcus behind to guard the house. Marcus pleads with the heavens to take the revenge that he thinks is appropriate for he believes that Titus will not do so because he is a just man who always follows proper rules.


Notes

The scene opens with a vivid reminder that Lavinia is linked with Titus in obsession: the boy Lucius runs frightened away from her pursuit. Her purpose is to reveal her fate and its perpetrators, which she achieves by indicating Ouidís Metamorphosis. Thus the Philomel theme is recapitulated. Titus appears a picture of calm at the end of the scene as he leads Lavinia and young Lucius away. Marcus is convinced that Titus is too "just" to take revenge on his enemies. Irony lies in Titusí refusal to accept young Luciusí offer to stab Tamoraís sons. The course Titus has in mind is Pragneís cannibal banquet suggested to him by Ovidís tale. Pragne, Teresus wife, kills their son and then serves it to Teresus at a banquet to revenge Philomelís rape. This is Titusí true intention but Marcus misinterprets it as resignation leading to the irony.

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MonkeyNotes-Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
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