Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Lucius arrives in Rome at his fatherís bidding, accompanied by the Goths and the imprisoned Aaron. Saturninus, Tamora and their officials arrive at the banquet prepared by Titus. Just after the banquet begins Titus kills Lavinia in order to free her from her sufferings. He then kills Tamora. Saturninus kills Titus and is in turn killed by Lucius. Marcus and Lucius address the people of Rome and Lucius relates all the wrongs that had been done unto his family by Tamora and her sons. They show Aaronís son, unharmed, and ask the people of Rome for their verdict on the deaths of Tamora and the Emperor. The people of Rome proclaim Lucius as their emperor. The Andronici bid a tearful farewell to the dead Titus. Lucius punishes Aaron by having him buried breast - deep in earth and starved, he orders Saturninus to be buried in the latterís fatherís grave, and declares that Tamora deserves no funeral and orders her body to be fed to animals. He then declares that henceforth the state will be protected from the likes of Aaron and the chaos his type brings.
The whole development of the play leads to the final holocaust that occurs in the end. Titus achieves his revenge: he kills Tamora. He kills Lavinia too, and at this point Saturninus is forced to exclaim "unnatural and unkind". But the development of his character throughout the play, his violence and his adherence to strict codes of conduct allows the reader to give credence to his actions.
Once the unleashed destructiveness has exhausted itself and come to an end Marcus takes charge and restores political order: Lucius is declared emperor. He passes judgment on Aaron who goes unrepentant to his death. Tamora is denied a funeral and her body is consigned to beasts and birds, "let birds on her take pity". This final reference to pitiless birds is not fortuitous: it is the last, in the chain of references, to Quidís account of the rape of Philomel. When Tereus discovers their revenge, the cannibalistic feast of his son Itys, he flies into a rage and runs after them with a sword. The tale ends with all three of them bring metamorphosed into birds. The scene ends with a conventional couplet on political order that has finally been restored.