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Titus Andronicus (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671722921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671722920
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Scene 1

Flourish. l Enter the Tribunes (including Marcus Andronicus) and Senators aloft. And then enter, Saturninus and his followers at one door, and Bassianus and his followers with Drums, and Trumpets.


Noble patricians, patrons of my right,

Defend the justice of my cause with arms.

And countrymen, my loving followers,

Plead my successive title with your swords.

I am his firstborn son that was the last

That wore the imperial diadem of Rome.

Then let my father's honors live in me,

Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.


Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,

If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son,

Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,

Keep, then, this passage to the Capitol,

And suffer not dishonor to approach

The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,

To justice, continence, and nobility;

But let desert in pure election shine,

And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

Marcus, (stepping forward and holding up the crown)

Princes that strive by factions and by friends

Ambitiously for rule and empery,

Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand

A special party, have by common voice,

In election for the Roman empery,

Chosen Andronicus, surnamèd Pius

For many good and great deserts to Rome.

A nobler man, a braver warrior,

Lives not this day within the city walls.

He by the Senate is accited home

From weary wars against the barbarous Goths,

That with his sons, a terror to our foes,

Hath yoked a nation strong, trained up in arms.

Ten years are spent since first he undertook

This cause of Rome, and chastisèd with arms

Our enemies' pride. Five times he hath returned

Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons

In coffins from the field.

And now at last, laden with honor's spoils,

Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,

Renownèd Titus flourishing in arms.

Let us entreat, by honor of his name

Whom worthily you would have now succeed,

And in the Capitol and Senate's right,

Whom you pretend to honor and adore,

That you withdraw you and abate your strength,

Dismiss your followers and, as suitors should,

Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.


How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!


Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy

In thy uprightness and integrity,

And so I love and honor thee and thine,

Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,

And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,

Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,

That I will here dismiss my loving friends,

And to my fortunes and the people's favor

Commit my cause in balance to be weighed.

Bassianus' Soldiers exit.


Friends that have been thus forward in my right,

I thank you all and here dismiss you all,

And to the love and favor of my country

Commit myself, my person, and the cause.

Saturninus' Soldiers exit.

Rome, be as just and gracious unto me

As I am confident and kind to thee.

Open the gates and let me in.


Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.

Flourish.l They go up into the Senate House. The Tribunes and Senators exit from the upper stage.

Enter a Captain.


Romans, make way! The good Andronicus,

Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,

Successful in the battles that he fights,

With honor and with fortune ièd with his sword

And brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.

Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter two of Titus' sons () and then two men bearing a coffin covered with black, then two other sons (), then Titus Andronicus, and then Tamora the Queen of Goths and her sons Chiron and Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, and others as many as can be, then set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.


Hail Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!

Lo, as the bark that hath discharged his fraught

Returns with precious lading to the bay

From whence at first she weighed her anchorage,

Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,

To resalute his country with his tears,

Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.

Thou great defender of this Capitol,

Stand gracious to the rites that we intend.

Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,

Half of the number that King Priam had,

Behold the poor remains alive and dead.

These that survive let Rome reward with love;

These that I bring unto their latest home,

With burial amongst their ancestors.

Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.

Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,

Why suffer'st thou thy sons unburied yet

To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?

Make way to lay them by their brethren.

They open the tomb.

There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,

And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars.

O sacred receptacle of my joys,

Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,

How many sons hast thou of mine in store

That thou wilt never render to me more?


Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,

That we may hew his limbs and on a pile,

Ad manes fratrum, sacrifice his flesh

Before this earthy prison of their bones,

That so the shadows be not unappeased

Nor we disturbed with prodigies on earth.


I give him you, the noblest that survives,

The eldest son of this distressèd queen.


Stay, Roman brethren! -- Gracious conqueror,

Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,

A mother's tears in passion for her son.

And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,

O think my son to be as dear to me.

Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome

To beautify thy triumphs and return

Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke,

But must my sons be slaughtered in the streets

For valiant doings in their country's cause?

O, if to fight for king and commonweal

Were piety in thine, it is in these!
She kneels.

Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood.

Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?

Draw near them then in being merciful.

Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.

Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.


Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.

These are their brethren whom your Goths beheld

Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain

Religiously they ask a sacrifice.

To this your son is marked, and die he must,

T' appease their groaning shadows that are gone.


Away with him, and make a fire straight,

And with our swords upon a pile of wood

Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consumed.

Exit Titus' sons with Alarbus.

Tamora, rising and speaking aside to her sons

O cruel, irreligious piety!

Chiron, aside to Tamora and Demetrius<BR>
Was never Scythia half so barbarous!

Demetrius, aside to Tamora and Chiron

Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome!

Alarbus goes to rest and we survive

To tremble under Titus' threat'ning look.

Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withal

The selfsame gods that armed the Queen of Troy

With opportunity of sharp revenge

Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent

May favor Tamora the Queen of Goths

(When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen)

To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.

Enter the sons of Andronicus again


See, lord and father, how we have performed

Our Roman rites. Alarbus' limbs are lopped,

And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,

Whose smoke like incense doth perfume the sky.

Remaineth naught but to inter our brethren,

And with loud larums welcome them to Rome.


Let it be so. And let Andronicus

Make this his latest farewell to their souls.

Sound trumpets, and lay the coffin in the tomb.

In peace and honor rest you here, my sons,

Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,

Secure from worldly chances and mishaps.

Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,

Here grow no damnèd drugs; here are no storms,

No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.

In peace and honor rest you here, my sons.

Enter Lavinia.


In peace and honor live Lord Titus long;

My noble lord and father, live in fame.

She kneels.

Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears

I render for my brethren's obsequies,

And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy

Shed on this earth for thy return to Rome.

O bless me here with thy victorious hand,

Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud.


Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserved

The cordial of mine age to glad my heart! --

Lavinia, live, outlive thy father's days

And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise.

Lavinia rises.

Enter Marcus Andronicus, carrying a white robe.

Enter aloft Saturninus, Bassianus, Tribunes, Senators, and Guards.


Long live Lord Titus, my belovèd brother,

Gracious triumpher in the eyes of ...

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I would recommend it for those who admire Shakespeare's tragedies.
Eric S. Kim
I love the Folger Shakespeare editions because of the wonderful notes that are included, especially an overview at the end of the book by a current author.
I needed to read this book for a university class of mine, and it was so easy to read!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eric S. Kim on February 7, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second time that I have read Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus," and the experience was much better the second time (I found it to be above-average the first time). This is absolutely Shakespeare's darkest and most violent play, and it should not be read if you have a very weak stomach. It's full of blood, gore, and sexual immorality. True, it's not as violent as what you see now on HBO, but it's close, REAL close. The story for the play focuses on the Roman general named Titus Andronicus and his revenge against the Queen of the Goths, Tamora. Now, the story itself is interesting (if a bit incoherent), but the text from Shakespeare isn't as enthralling as, say, "Julius Caesar" or "King Lear." This is indeed one of the author's earliest works, and it doesn't really show much wit or enchantment. But what makes up for it is the story itself; it's shockingly violent but it's still intriguing. Overall, the play could have been more interesting if the text showed a bit more inspiration, but it's still a great play for its plot and characters. I would recommend it for those who admire Shakespeare's tragedies.

Grade: A-
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brent Hightower on February 22, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"I tell my sorrows to the stones..."

These chilling words from Shakespeare's tale of loyalty betrayed by power reverberate profoundly in our world today, and in my mind this play's subject matter takes it off the shelf and puts it into the forefront of the current Shakespeare canon. I say this despite readily admitting that the language of Titus Andronicus does not equal that of Shakespeare's later plays - that it is the most crudely wrought of all his works - but even this fact does not devalue such a powerful, passionate, and indignant vision of a world utterly deprived of justice.

The only word for this vision would be apocalyptic, and it is interesting to me that Shakespeare initiated his career as a tragedian with such a work, and ended it many years later with an equally apocalyptic work in King Lear, and that in both of these plays the fatal element is human nature. That, it seems to me, is what Shakespeare most wanted to leave us with as a writer, an impression that human nature itself is the critical element in human tragedy - that we essentially create tragedy with our own hands, and without a widely shared vision underpinning a moral order there is no way to construct a reality devoid of horror. So for readers who have the strength to endure its terrible violence and unrelenting pathos there is a message to be taken from this play that is crucial, and that is that there is simply no limit to human cruelty once a shared spiritual and intellectual vision is lost.

That appears to have been Shakespeare's first and last word to posterity, this unflinching look at the horror of life in a world predicated on nothing but the struggle for survival.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rebekah on September 18, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the Folger Shakespeare editions because of the wonderful notes that are included, especially an overview at the end of the book by a current author. Of course this story is not for the faint-hearted, and don't make the the mistake of reading this particular Shakespeare story after eating Guinness and Beef pie! Your tummy might feel queasy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Costley on February 2, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoy the Folger Library version of Shakespeare's plays. They are great for teaching and better understanding Shakespeare.
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By K. Spangler on June 29, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Titus Andronicus was hideous. It was much more violent than any of his other plays, and there were way too many holes. I gave it two stars, because some of the analogies were very beautiful, other than that, I'd find another play to read.
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