Titus Andronicus | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Titus Andronicus | Act 2, Scene 2 | Summary

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Summary

It is morning on the day of the hunt. Titus Andronicus, his brother Marcus, and his sons Quintus and Martius are in the forest. Titus orders the hunting horns and dogs to sound, saying it will wake Saturninus and Tamora, who have just shared their wedding night. Saturninus and Tamora arrive with Bassianus and Lavinia, who have also shared their first night together. Tamora's sons are also present.

Marcus and Titus tell the emperor the dogs and horses are ready. As the party makes its way toward the woods, Demetrius quietly reminds Chiron they will be hunting a different kind of doe: Lavinia.

Analysis

The dual nature of the hunt is made clear in this scene. The hunt officially is a genteel affair in which the emperor and his nobles track and kill animals. Unofficially, it is a hunt in which two despicable would-be rapists trap and violate Lavinia—in a disturbing twist on Renaissance love poetry, which frequently describes courtship as a hunt. This "hunt" has more in common with a cold-blooded kind of hunting—the predator/prey relationship in the animal kingdom. Chiron and Demetrius are again portrayed as animals—they are the predators, and Lavinia is the prey. The woods, where nature's rules dominate and humans are interlopers, is an appropriate setting for the bestial sons of Tamora to show their monstrous nature.

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