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MonkeyNotes-Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
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Scene 4

Summary

Titusí arrows rain down on Saturninus and serve only to anger him. Tamora tries to placate him saying that Titus grief has affected his mind. When the clown hands Titusí message to Saturninus the latter commands the clown to be hanged. In his message Titus states, that his sons have been wrongfully killed by Saturninus. Saturninus commands that Titus should be arrested and killed. He suspects Titus of imperial ambition, for the crown of Rome.

Titus however is saved when Aemilius enters with the news that the Goths are getting ready to attack Rome under Luciusí leadership. Saturninus fears that the citizens of Rome will support Lucius. Tamora decides to persuade Titus to convince Lucius to drop his plans for revolt.


Notes

The arrows serve to make Saturninus very angry and so does the accusation in the letter the clown carries. Perhaps more so than can be warranted. His order to execute the clown seems to be an extreme response and suggests that there is more to his anger than is readily apparent. That this is true is revealed later on in the scene when, his insecurity regarding his position is revealed. His suspicions regarding Titusí imperial ambitions are ironical and only serves to bring into sharp focus, how his greed to hold onto the crown have dulled his mind. Saturninus does not even remember that the crown was Titusí and that he was the one responsible for making him the Emperor of Rome.

Saturninus knows that he is an unpopular king. Thus when he hears that Lucius, backed by Goths, is getting ready to attack the city he completely loses his composure, revealing what a weak man he really is. In direct contrast to him is Tamora, made of tough imperial fiber. She advises him "Is the sun dimmíd, that gnats do fly in it?" She doesnít become afraid or intimidated by the sudden reversal of events instead, she rises admirably to the situation. While Saturninus is falling apart she devices a plan to outwit the Andronicus family. His arrows have convinced her that he is an irritating but harmless lunatic. It is clear from the later incidents that she has really underestimated Titus.

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